A back-of-the-box recipe for lemon icebox pie gets a gourmet upgrade with real whipped cream, lemon simple syrup, vanilla shortbread, and homemade candied lemon peel scattered over the top — it's a lovely dessert for a special occasion. This recipe was developed by SAVEUR.com contributor Judy Haubert.
FOR THE CRUST:
- 8 oz. shortbread cookies
- 6 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. agave syrup
FOR THE FILLING:
- 3⁄4 cup sugar, divided
- Peel from two lemons, thinly sliced into strips
- 1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350° with rack in the middle position. Pulse the shortbread cookies in the bowl of a food processor until crumbs are medium-fine in appearance. Add coconut oil and agave and continue to pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Press crumbs firmly into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes until golden-brown, remove from oven and cool completely.
Combine 1⁄2 cup sugar with 1⁄3 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until all sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes. Remove syrup from heat and add the lemon peel. Cool to room temperature and strain the syrup to remove the peel, reserving peel. Toss the reserved peel with the remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar and spread on a parchment- or wax-lined tray to dry. Whisk lemon juice with reserved syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk lemon syrup with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the syrup mixture until completely incorporated and no streaks are visible. Pour the filling mixture into the prepared crust, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Scatter the sugar-coated candied lemon peel over the top of the pie, pressing lightly to set. Freeze the pie, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Let the pie sit at room temperature 4-5 minutes before slicing, and dip your knife in hot water to make cutting this frozen treat easier.
Note: Steps 1 & 2 can be done up to a day in advance. Any leftover filling can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days; dollop over mixed berries and sprinkle with lemon sugar for a simple dessert.
To make this dessert gluten-free: use a gluten-free brand of shortbread or arrowroot cookies such as Shӓr, Mi-Del, Glutino or Ian's, or a homemade gluten-free shortbread.