From scratch Lemon Icebox Pie is just what summer ordered! It’s sweet, tart, creamy, nutty and best served cold!
Summer is filled with scorching days, so, this mouthwatering lemon icebox pie hits the spot when that thermometer soars!
One of my dad’s favorite desserts is key lime pie, so I make that quite often. But this year for his birthday I decided to switch things up a bit and use lemon instead of lime and add some cream cheese to make a more velvety custard.
The idea was to make an icebox pie that could be topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream with a lemon custard as the vehicle. In my humble opinion, I think lemon goes perfectly with just about anything, but the quantity is key. Too much and the pie is sour. Too little and you have plain cream pie.
I’m happy to say that this lemon icebox pie has just the right amount of lemon flavor! It can stand on its own or you can give it a topping. The first time I made it, I paired the pie with strawberries and my
guinea pigs taste testers loved it. The pie was tangy, creamy and so refreshing. However, there were crumbly crust issues with the first batch, so as tasty as it was, it was unphotogenic.
The second time around, I added a little extra butter to the almond, graham cracker crust and used a pie dish instead of a tall fluted tart pan. Bottom line, it was less fussy and the cookie-like crust held together beautifully.
For serving, I topped the pie with large, plump blackberries and served it up to a crowd of family and friends. It was a hit with the young and old alike, and three days later, folks were still asking for more pie! It’s a good thing that this recipe feeds a crowd!
Which brings me to this somewhat odd-sized recipe. To get the perfect lemony flavored custard, I ended up with too much filling. It wasn’t the kind of recipe that could be easily divided so I made more graham cracker crust. I mean, more pie is never a problem, right?
This lemon icebox pie recipe can fill an extra-large, deep dish pie plate… like the vintage 11.5 inch 211 Pyrex I’ve been coveting online for YEARS! Or, you can make a regular 8-9 inch pie and use the leftover crust and filling in an individual pie plate. For the pictures here, the recipe filled one shallow 10 inch pie plate and two 5 inch ramekins. But really, whatever you have on hand will work. It’s just not that fussy.
Did I mention that the second testing of this recipe happened while vacationing in the Outer Banks? And what does this crazy baker lady do on vacation? Double the recipe of course!!!! Turns out that a double recipe makes three regular sized pies!!!!
Three pies is not an easy feat in a rental kitchen, but this recipe uses simple, easy to find ingredients and if you shop smart, you can cut out some of the preparation steps. Spend more time enjoying your summer and less time in the kitchen? That’s a no brainer!
Nowadays it’s pretty easy to find graham cracker crumbs and almond meal/flour so that’s an easy swap. If you don’t have a juicer on hand, look for lemon juice in the freezer aisle and (it pains me to say this) skip the lemon zest. But with these swaps you won’t need a food pressor, mixer, lemon reamer or zester.
Imagine yourself eating this amazing Lemon Icebox Pie while watching the summer sun set over the horizon. What a great way to savor this classic summer dessert! Now go make it, because the sweet life is within reach!
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Lemon Icebox Pie
- 1½ cups ground graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 9 tablespoons butter , melted or very soft
- 6 tablespoons white or raw (turbinado) sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about the zest of 1-2 lemons)
- 1 8oz package cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, ground almonds, butter and sugar.
- Kneed until crumbs form. (To test consistency, gather a handful and squeeze. If the crumble forms a ball in your hand, it is ready. If it fails to come together, add melted butter one tablespoon at a time until it comes together).
- Press crust into pie plate. then blind bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the crust and let cool partially.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°
Lemon Pie Filling
- In a large bowl , whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, and sweetened condensed milk.
- Add sugar and lemon zest to the condensed milk mixture and stir until combined.
- Add softened cream cheese and whisk until smooth.
- If using, whisk in limoncello.
- Pour lemon custard into the pie crust and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until custard is set. It should have just a slight wobble in the middle when set.
- Cool pie at room temperature and then transfer to a refrigerator to chill. (This step is very important! Putting a hot dish in a cold refrigerator can crack the dish!)
- Refrigerate or freeze pie until ready to serve.
- Top with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
- This recipe can be made in the most basic of kitchens if you buy pre-prepped ingredients. Most grocery stores carry graham cracker crumbs, almond meal and frozen lemon juice. Save yourself some time, the shortcuts won't be noticeable in this recipe.
- If you don't have a zester or a microplane, use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest. If any white pith comes along, scrape it off with a paring knife and then chop the zest with a chefs knife until very fine.
- Doubling the recipe makes three regular 8 inch pies. Might sound like a lot of pie, but I've done this while on beach vacations with the family and the pies disappear fast!
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