Icebox Lemon Pie

Icebox Lemon Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

All you need to know is that this is the easiest pie you’ll ever make. You literally can’t mess it up. It is the perfect dessert after a spicy or robust meal. It’s also a great pie to have on hand when you’re making something new and untested. No matter what the result of your culinary adventures, this dessert will save the moment and will be all anyone will talk about. That’s a recipe worth committing to memory, don’t you think?


2½ cups graham cracker crumbs

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted 

¼ cup sugar


3 large eggs, separated

Juice of 3 lemons

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons sugar

For the crust: reheat the oven to 300°F.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie tin.

For the filling: over and chill the egg whites. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, and condensed milk. Mix well and pour over the graham cracker crust.

Bake until stiff, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to assemble the pie, preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Spread the meringue over the pie filling.

Bake until the meringue is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipes from Music, Meals, and Muses by Alexander Smalls (Flatiron Books) 2020. Photography credit (including photo on cover): Beatriz da Costa. Cover design credit: Jonathan Bush.

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