Atlantic Beach’s Best Pie – How to Make Atlantic Beach Pie

PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

Lovers of lime and lemon meringue pie, come together! Perfected by chef Bill Smith at his iconic restaurant, Crook’s Corner in North Carolina, Atlantic beach pie is a twist on a staple of North Carolina desserts. He took the cakes he remembered from his youth and swapped the meringue topping for a much simpler whipped cream. What makes this fresh and creamy dessert truly unique is the cracker pie crust. The crackers are mashed in a food processor and combined with butter and sugar (we opted for light brown!), Similar to a graham cracker or cookie pie crust. For more buttery, we used butter crackers instead of traditional Ritz crackers.

Crust cracker 101

Cracker crust isn’t complicated at all, but there is a right way to do it.
—Get the right size of the crumbs: the smaller you beat the crumbs, the easier it will be to press the crust evenly into the pan. But don’t go so far that the crumbs turn to dust.
—Repairing a sliding crust: If you find your pie crust starting to slide down the sides of the pan, let it finish cooking and put it back into shape with a glass or measuring cup while it is still hot. As the crust cools, it will retain the correct shape.

Whole egg vs. Egg Yolk Cream

Like the Key lime and lemon meringue pies, Atlantic Beach pie is a baked custard pie. Cream cakes are made from a base of egg yolks, milk, sugar and some kind of flavoring. Egg yolks make the custard super smooth and creamy, but too much can make it a little eggy and heavy. Adding two whole eggs will help you get that perfect texture without a lot of egg flavor.

This cake is the best way to end a hearty Southern feast or satisfy a late night snack craving. Store the remaining slices in the pan, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

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Returns:

12


portions

Preparation time:

1

Now

10

min

Total time:

4

hours

0

min

Crust of crackers

2 1/2


muffins of butter crackers (about 75 crackers / 250 g.)

1/2 sec.

softened butter

1/4 c.

packaged light brown sugar

Filled with lemon and lime custard

1


(14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 c.

fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)

1/3 c.

fresh lime juice (3 to 4 large limes)

Topping And Mounting The Whipped Cream

3 tbsp.

light brown sugar

1 Teaspoon.

finely grated lemon zest

1 Teaspoon.

finely grated lime zest

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Crust of crackers

  1. In a food processor, whisk the crackers until finely ground with a few pea-sized pieces remaining, 25 to 30 pulses. Add the butter and brown sugar and continue whisking until the butter is incorporated and a crumbly dough begins to form, about 15 pulses.
  2. Transfer the cracker mixture to a 9-inch glass cake pan. Press in an even layer on the bottom and top sides of the pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust until deep brown and nutty and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Filled with lemon and lime custard

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the yolks, eggs, and milk until well blended. Add the lemon juice and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the custard into the pie shell. Continue to bake until the center of the cake has solidified but still slightly shaky, about 18 minutes.
  3. Transfer the tart tin onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Topping And Mounting The Whipped Cream

  1. Using a medium-high speed electric mixer or whisk, in a medium bowl, beat the cream and brown sugar until frothy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a pastry bag or spatula, garnish the cooled cake with the whipped cream.
  2. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and lime zest and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Go on: The cake can be made 4 days in advance. Cover the cake plate with plastic and cool.

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Atlantic beach cake

PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

Brooke Caison
Food publisher
Brooke Caison is currently Food Editor at Delish, where she develops recipes and creates recipe videos.

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