Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lemon Icebox Pie

Washington Post recipe . . . you'll need a 9-inch springform pan to make this pie, recipe inspired by the dessert served at Clancy's on Annunciation Street in New Orleans.

MAKE AHEAD: The baked pie needs at least 6 hours in the freezer before serving. The pie can be covered and frozen for up to 1 week. Make the chantilly cream just before serving; let the pie sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes one 9-inch pie (6 to 8 servings)

For the crust

* 14 whole graham crackers
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 6 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm

For the filling

* 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
* 1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (from 2 zested lemons plus an additional 4 to 6 lemons)
* Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated (a scant 2 tablespoons)
* 8 large egg yolks

For the chantilly cream

* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar


For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have a 9- or 10-inch springform pan and a baking sheet at hand.

Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor, along with the sugar and salt. Pulse 8 times, until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine (they shouldn't be powdery but not in large shards, either) and the crackers and sugar are combined. Add 6 tablespoons of the butter, and pulse in about twelve 1-second pulses until blended in. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter as needed so the mixture isn't crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it.

Transfer to the springform pan; push and press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and two-thirds of the way up the sides (2 to 2 1/2 inches). Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into place.

For the filling: Whisk together the condensed milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisk together the zest and egg yolks in a separate medium bowl for 30 to 60 seconds, until pale, and then whisk in the lemon juice-condensed milk mixture to form a smooth filling.

Place the springform pan on the baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust, then carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are set and the center jiggles slightly, like a soft-set custard. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 1 hour. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (be careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the chantilly cream: Combine the cream and vanilla extract in the large bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment) or hand-held electric mixer.

Sift in the confectioners' sugar. Beat on low speed to combine, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until medium-stiff peaks form.

When ready to serve, wrap a warm, wet towel around the edges of the springform pan to help ease the release of the pie. Unclasp the pan and carefully remove the springform ring.

Cut the pie into slices, using a knife dipped into very hot water before each cut. Top individual portions with a dollop of the chantilly cream.

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