Silky smooth and sweet-tart, this easy lemon pie is the perfect spring and summer dessert (or anytime you want to pretend it’s summery!). The lemon custard is made with only 3 ingredients, bakes in less than 20 minutes, and can be made ahead of time for easy entertaining.
Brand new month… brand new pie for our 2018 Pie of the Month series!
(I really don’t know who I am anymore, getting all these pie recipes out at the beginning of the month. I was usually down to the wire for my bundt cakes, sharing on the last day or two of each month!)
We’re inching closer to my favorite kind of pies: fruit pies! We started with lots of no bake pies to get us through the winter produce dearth (coconut cream pie, mint chocolate chip pie, nutella pie) .
We’re not quite up to summer berry pies yet. But this month is a lemon pie, made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Getting closer!
When I started planning out my year long series of pies, April seemed like the perfect month for lemon pie. Bright, sunshiney, springy – everything you think of when it comes to both April in the mid-Atlantic and lemon.
Except instead… we’re stuck in perpetual winter. On Monday, it snowed and sleeted. This weekend: more snow predicted. I probably should have made something more in line with this chocolate bourbon pecan pie if I wanted to be “weather appropriate.” Sigh.
Nevertheless, let’s pretend it’s spring. Maybe it actually *is* spring where you live! (If so, say hello to the sunshine on behalf of us mid-Atlantic dwellers.)
This creamy, dreamy lemon pie has the same base as a key lime pie: egg yolks and condensed milk, but lots of lemon (both juice and zest) instead of key lime juice. And that’s it!
Three ingredients, plus a homemade graham cracker pie crust and whipped cream for topping. Super duper easy!
There are dozens of different ratios for the egg yolk to condensed milk to lemon juice out there. I love the sweet-tart taste of lemon desserts, so I wanted to play up the tart side of the lemon, adding extra lemon juice (and some extra egg yolk) to compensate for the extreme sweetness of the condensed milk.
Don’t worry, it’s not too tart — it’s like a refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. (Hot summer day? I don’t even remember what that is anymore.)
I have one request for this pie: use fresh lemon juice. I’m all about keeping a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge for cooking or adding a little bit here or there, but when it comes to this pie: fresh is best.
Bottled lemon juice lacks the citrusy pop of the fresh stuff, and squeezing all those lemons is well worth the effort.
I’m going to be honest here: this is one of my favorite desserts I’ve ever made, and that’s saying a lot, because obviously I make a lot of desserts. But there was just something about this lemon pie that I couldn’t stop eating.
The silky smooth texture. The prominent lemon flavor. The crispy graham cracker crust. The pile of whipped cream and raspberries on top. All of it.
Plus, you can make it ahead of time: the crust stayed nice and crispy in my refrigerator for 6 days. Or you can make it 3 months in advance and store it in the freezer. Talk about an easy dessert for entertaining!
I don’t care if it’s going to snow again this weekend: I need more lemon pie in my life. And I’m pretty sure you do, too.
Silky smooth and sweet-tart, this easy lemon pie is the perfect spring and summer dessert (or anytime you want to pretend it’s summery!).
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 12 full size sheets, finely crushed)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
For the lemon pie:
- 2 (14 ounce) cans full-fat sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 large egg yolks
- optional garnish: freshly whipped cream, additional lemon slices, raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Prepare graham cracker crust according to instructions. Remove from oven and let cool briefly while making lemon pie filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolks until well combined. Pour into graham cracker crust.
- Bake the pie for 18-20 minutes, until pie is set along the edges and slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour, up to a week.
- Top with desired garnish: freshly whipped cream, additional lemon slices, and raspberries.
Pie can be made ahead of time. After baking, cool at room temperature, then loosely wrap with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or cover tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.