By Meda Kessler
Photos by Aaron Dougherty
If ever there was a time to do a story about turning lemons into lemonade, it would be now. But we’re craving more than a beverage so, instead, we’re saluting tart citrus as our favorite dessert ingredient that isn’t chocolate.
Spring holidays and reasons to gather abound: Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, graduations, the fact that we have fast internet access. For celebrations big and small, we like to offer lemon bars, with their creamy filling, shortbread crust and beautiful color. Set out a platter of these and watch them disappear. Enjoy them with coffee or maybe a glass of a late-harvest riesling.
Another favorite is a lemon icebox pie with a graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream. The citrus shines in the cool and creamy filling, and it’s the perfect answer to what to have for dessert on a hot day. if you’re looking to punch up the presentation, dress it up with lemon slices, sprigs of mint or a handful of blueberries.
For one-stop shopping, we hit up Texas Harvest Pie Company. This family-owned bakery shares our love of lemon, with everything from lemon chess and lemon icebox pies to one with mile-high meringue. Cookies include lemon meltaways and, of course, the lemon bars. You’ll find them at 138 Olive St., Keller, 817-798-9474. Check out the menu at texasharvestpie.wixsite.com/pies.
You don’t have to be a pastry wizard (thank goodness) to make a decent lemon icebox pie. Here’s our version.
Lemon Icebox Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 cups sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (roughly 3 big lemons)
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest
- A pinch of sea salt
- Whipped cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan.
In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press mixture evenly into pie pan and up the sides.
Bake for 6-8 minutes until dry and firm. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, lemon juice, egg yolks, lemon zest and salt. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 3-4 minutes or use a whisk until everything is incorporated.
Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until pie is set.
Remove and cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Top with whipped cream.