Lemon Cream Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Happy Pi(e) day, friends! A celebration of all things round, a day when math and dessert collide in an unusually wonderful way.
Pie has admittedly never been my go-to sweet. For years I’ve tended to reach first for cookies, cakes, brownies, or bars, mainly because pie crust seemed too hard. Always falling, not shaping well, not holding shape after baking, too thin or too thick, you get the idea.
Fortunately, a few years ago a friend gave me the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop cookbook, which changed all of that. Their recipe and tips for an all-butter crust have never once let me down!
Now, fortunately for all of us, as wonderful as a traditional pie crust can be, there is also the delicious simplicity of a thick, sweet, graham cracker base, which goes undeniably well with certain flavors and textures, and, friends, this is without a doubt one of them.
This lemon cream pie is silky and rich, tart and sweet all at once. There are lots of approaches to lemon cream pie; I love that this one is made from scratch but still straightforward. Graham cracker crust is no-fuss, the filling is quick and easy, and a generous layer of whipped cream on top is the simplest final touch.
If it’s going to be a few hours until the pie is served, add a smidge of gelatin to the whipped cream, which will prevent it from melting or collapsing onto the pie in a gooey mess (how cool is that trick!?). But if you can top and serve it right away, no need for the gelatin.
This pie was so tasty, I almost hated to part ways with the half I sent over to the neighbors, but we reeeeally do not need even more dessert in our home this week! This treat would be perfect for any spring or summer get-together. Serve it chilled with cool glasses of milk or citrus-infused water, or, uh, with a light Belgian-style beer. I can personally attest that that last combo works pretty darn well.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Silky and rich, tart and sweet all at once – this lemon cream pie will be a hit anywhere! ” quote=”Silky and rich, tart and sweet all at once – this lemon cream pie will be a hit anywhere! “]
Enjoy! Happy Pi(e) eating!
Lemon Cream Pie
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from 10 full sheet graham crackers
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
For the pie filling:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice from about 4 lemons
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp. cool water
- 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). To make the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together in a medium bowl until well-combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie pan, and use the bottom of a flat measuring cup or drinking glass to press down the crust, making sure it is very tight and compact. Bake crust for 7-8 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
- To prepare the pie filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream or creme fraiche, and salt in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest, and whisk slowly until mixture is even. Pour filling into crust. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, until the edges of the pie are just set and the center still wiggles slightly when you gently move the baking sheet. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- To make the topping, place 2 tbsp. cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside for about 5 minutes to soften, then warm mixture over very low heat, just until gelatin dissolves. Set aside to cool.
- In large bowl, using an electric or hand mixer if you have one, beat cream and sugar until very soft peaks form. While still beating, slowly pour in the gelatin mixture. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, spread whipped cream over cooled pie. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour or, loosely covered, up to 1 day.
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living