Monday, June 1, 2015

Buttermilk Citrus Icebox Pie

So this is it. My final blog post from Tennessee.

A year ago, on a dare, I agreed to do some baking and self-reflection. I'm not even 100% certain why I followed through. It was fun, and most of the stuff tasted phenomenal. But I could've done the food without keeping up with the pictures and posts. I suppose the posts kept me accountable in some way--sort of like having a workout buddy or an exercise tracking app. But in the end, I think I wanted a reason to create something every month.

Whether we are full-time working moms or full-time stay-at-home moms (or single or married or anything in between), it is so easy to get in a rut. Life this year had some long stretches that felt like such a grind, I almost forgot that it didn't always used to feel that way. Finding a reason to make something special--even if just for a night at home with the kids--was actually really important. I suppose if there is a lesson from these blogs, it might be that. I used to bake for friends and have fairly elaborate dinner parties with Oohs and Aaahs. This year, there were no friends or parties or accolades. So why bother? Because I didn't want us to lose a year. I didn't want to look back and feel like I'd just spent a year treading water.

So whether you are heading out to a big cookout with friends or just looking for a great pie to stash in your freezer for a night on the couch with Netflix, this month is for you! This month's finale is a summertime essential. An easy graham cracker crust filled with tangy, citrusy, creamy pie. Topped with homemade whipped cream. This thing was SO good and probably the easiest recipe I've posted thus far. Make it as directed below, or head over to the real Southern Living and find a number of variations from this issue (lemon, strawberry, peach...). You'll be glad you did.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (this is basically one sleeve)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using salty crackers for an alternative crust)
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix ingredients and press gently into bottom and up sides of pie pan. (Pro tip: use a large measuring cup or a heavy bottomed highball glass for perfect edges)
Bake in 350° oven for 5-8 minutes.

Alternative crusts: same ingredients but substitute any other type of crumbs (e.g., cookies, gingersnaps, saltines, Ritz crackers, etc.).

Pie Filling:
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon loosely packed lime zest (this is maybe one large lime or several smaller key limes)
1/2 cup Key lime juice (see note below...I substituted juice from a couple of limes plus one lemon)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a bowl.
2. Beat egg yolks at high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until yolks become pale and ribbons form on surface of mixture when beater is lifted. Gradually whisk in sweetened condensed milk mixture, and whisk until thoroughly combined; whisk in buttermilk. Pour mixture into prepared crust.
3. Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until set around edges. (Pie will be slightly jiggly.) Cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Cover pie with lightly greased (with cooking spray) plastic wrap, and freeze 4 to 6 hours.
4. Top with Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe to follow).

Note: I actually used all lime zest, but substituted 1/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 cup lemon juice instead of doing all lime juice.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
4T sugar
Splash of vanilla

Whip cream on high speed in stand mixer until it begins to significantly thicken. Then add sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping until desired stiffness. Be careful not to over-mix (there's a fine line between stiff whipped cream versus oops-I-think-I-just-churned-out-some-butter).