Before I share our beautiful lemon tree with you, I wanted shout out that I was featured over at The Dedicated House. Sweet Kathryn named me “Home Decor Queen”. I promise I won’t let it go to my head.
We have a Meyer Lemon Tree that has produced the most amazing lemons the past 2 years. A few weeks ago I shared with you my new Canon Rebel T5 camera. I wanted to practice my photography skills so I shot a few photos of this year’s crop.
Here is the tree, bursting with lemons. We’ve already taken a dozen lemons off the tree and it’s still full.
Aren’t they pretty?
It’s been so warm this winter that we already have dozens of blooms.
And one itty, bitty little lemon.
Here are some from last year.
Isn’t this the prettiest, happiest picture? Last year (as in winter 2014) we harvested 26 lemons, a bumper crop, twice as many as we’ve ever had. The lemons, from 3 1/2 – 4 inches long, were such a pleasant sight when I glanced outside in 30 degree weather. I love lemons; they have such a bright, refreshing taste and add zip to any food. I plan to use every bit of juice and zest. Besides using the juice in cocktails, Sweet Shark requested a Lemon Ice Box Pie, like the one his mom used to make.
And now for the Best Lemon Ice Box Pie Ever
When I’m looking for a particular recipe, in this case, Lemon Ice Box Pie, I look first in some of my files (I have 6 3-inch binders) and through my cookbook collection (over 100) that might have the type of recipe I’m researching. Then I’ll look online. I may print off two or three recipes, lay out all my possibilities, read them over, examine the ingredients and directions and decide which recipe to use. Sometimes, I’ll use parts of two recipes. For this pie, I found one recipe in my files, one in a Saveur magazine, and one from Southern Living. The recipe from Saveur actually was a cheesecake version, so I eliminated it. The remaining two recipes had the exact same ingredients for the crust and the filling, but in different proportions. The file recipe called for 2 cups graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup granulated sugar; the Southern Living recipe used 1 cup graham cracker crust, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar,a and 3 tablespoons melted butter. I liked the idea of using powdered sugar, but I didn’t think 1 cups of crumbs was enough. The file recipe called for 2 cups fresh lemon juice, which would require at least 12 of my precious Meyer lemons and seemed really like two much; the Southern Living recipe called for 1 cup lemon juice. The file recipe called for 2 egg yolks; the Southern Living one called for 6 egg yolks. Both recipes called for 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk. In the end, I went with the Southern Living recipe, but made adjustments to the crust amounts.
That decision made, I started making what Sweet Shark declared the best Lemon Ice Box Pie ever.
After placing the graham crackers, slightly crushed, in the food processor, I combined them with the powdered sugar and melted butter.
Covering the crumbs with a piece of plastic wrap makes spreading them really easy.
The nice smooth crust is ready for the oven.
The baked crust needs to cool for about 30 minutes.
Because the lemons were so large, I used tongs to juice them into a liquid measuring cup.
I strained the juice to get all the pulp and seeds out.
Juice, condensed milk, and egg yolks (in the bowl) are ready to combine.
Use a whisk to combine the filling ingredients.
Pour the filling into the pie crust. After baking, cool completely and then chill for at least 4 hours.
When you are ready to finish the pie, whip the cream until soft peaks form and spread on the filling. Garnish and serve.
Here’s the recipe.
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter — melted
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk – (14-ounce)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup whipping cream – chilled
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Garnishes: lemon slices, lemon zest or – fresh mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 2 ingredients; add butter, stirring until blended. Press mixture on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack about 30 minutes.
- Whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice. Pour into prepared crust.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight.
- Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form; spread whipped cream over chilled pie. Garnish, if desired, with lemon zest or lemon slices. A few mint leaves makes it even prettier.
I hope you make this pie, even if you don’t have your own lemon tree. I would suggest adding a tablespoon of honey or Agave Nectar if you are not using Meyer Lemons. Think of me when you are eating a piece of this pie. I’ll be thinking of you.