It’s a rare recipe that survives my kitchen without some changes, sometimes a lot of changes. That’s not unusual for someone who’s been baking and cooking for a long time – nobody’s saying exactly how long, but it’s a looong time. Long enough that all our forks look like this one worn down by the many, many times it’s stirred some concoction on the stove. The only change made to this recipe was because of the serendipitous appearance of Meyer lemons in the grocery store today.
I wish I could claim that the lemons came from my little tree in the living room, as they did for the last lemon pie posted, but despite the almost continuous presence of flowers that smell heavenly, it has only one lemon growing right now. Various sites tell us this is a self-pollinating tree. In the absence of any insects to handle that for us we’ve taken matters into our own hands. Every time a bloom opens we brush it with a paintbrush, hoping to get a lemon started. Time will tell. I’ve also decided it doesn’t like our windy summers so it gets to be a houseplant from now on. Most of the wind-tattered leaves have fallen off and are steadily being replaced by fresh new ones. Winter is hard on me but a prairie summer is hard on non-native plants.
The ingredient in this recipe that almost made me skip over it is sweetened condensed milk. Does it make me a snobby purist to feel like that’s cheating a bit? No worrying over a curd cooked to just the right thickness, just dump it all in a bowl and stir it together. But since I wanted to take something to the lake this summer to contribute to dinner, it was made. And was a huge hit. Since it’s so easy to make and was so popular it was my contribution several times over the summer when extra people were staying. It’s a wonderfully light hot weather dessert but also a cheery reminder of summer when January bites as it is doing today with 18″ of fresh snow on the ground, a high of 1°F, and enough wind to make you catch your breath if you dare step outside.
– Joan, 25 January 2019
Super simple lemon pie
For the crust:
- 9 whole graham crackers (135 grams)
- 1/2 cup salted almonds, whole or sliced, toasted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Crush the graham crackers and almonds with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Toss with the tablespoon of sugar and melted butter. Pat onto the bottom and up the sides of a a 9-10″ pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
For the filling:
- 2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons), plus the zest
- 4 large egg yolks
Stir together all the filling ingredients, being sure to break the yolks and mix them in thoroughly. Pour into the still-warm crust and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight, before serving. Garnish with lemon peel or zest, sliced almonds, whipped cream or meringue.