Friday, April 3, 2015

North Carolina Lemon Pie

One of the perks of being at home with my parents is getting to peruse their issues of Cook's Country magazine.  Often they highlight regional delicacies from around the country, but one in this year's March/April issue struck close to home.  It featured a lemon pie made famous in Atlantic Beach, NC and by chef Bill Smith at Crook's Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC.  I must have been living under a rock during the four years I spent as a college student in Chapel Hill because I never once tasted or even heard of this pie.  Thankfully, one year after my graduation, I was finally enlightened by the perfection that is a saltine cracker crust, sour lemon custard, and vanilla whipped cream.  It is an incredible combination of salty, sour, and sweet that cements it in first place as my favorite pie ever.  No kidding!  It blows every lemon merengue pie I've ever had out of the water!
Saltine crackers don't seem like the obvious choice for a dessert, but they are perfectly balanced with the other flavors in this pie.  I don't think anything sweeter or sugarier would work.

6 ounces of crackers is about a sleeve and a half.

One tip for getting corn syrup (or any sticky liquid) out of a measuring cup: spray it with cooking oil first!

I'm in love with this pie plate I got for Christmas!

Slicing the butter first always helps it melt faster.

A food processor makes this crust super quick.  I used the same 1/4 cup I measured my corn syrup in to press the crust around the pie plate.

The sides of the crust shrank down when I baked it, but it leveled perfectly with the amount of lemon custard.  

I left a little of the lemon custard exposed when I topped it with whipped cream.


North Carolina Lemon Pie
Adapted from Cook's Country Magazine
For the crust:
6 oz. Saltine Crackers
10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
For the filling:
4 egg yolks
1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp lemon zest & 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 2 lemons)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
For the whipped cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pulse the crackers and salt in the food processor 15 times until they form coarse crumbs.  Add the melted butter and corn syrup, pulse 15 more times until the texture of oatmeal.  Dump into greased pie plate and use the back of a flat measuring cup or glass to spread around and up the edges evenly.  Bake at 350 fahrenheit for 16-18 minutes until golden brown.  
Whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, zest, heavy cream, and salt until smooth.  Add lemon juice and whisk until smooth.  Pour into baked crust (doesn't need to be cool) and pop back in the oven for 15-18 minutes until set.  Let cool on a cooling rack, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (it's best if left overnight!).
Use beaters to whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks.  Spread over the chilled pie and enjoy! 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...