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lemon cream icebox pie | pie month

Pie Month is a celebration of things we love. Because life is hard, and there should always be more pie. Have a look at the other entries. Really. 

We just bought a snowblower with our neighbors, Kevin and Tara. 
These are the nice people who give us things when they're done with them: swing sets, toys, Batman computers, two massive toddler car seats, clothes for the kids. They also came running when the tree fell on our house
The latest thing they gave was a custom-made privacy fence for our boxy air conditioner exhaust unit (you know, that ugly thing sitting outside our house in the landscaping). Kevin was making it for their house, but it ended up not working for them. Fortunately, it fit our house to the inch. It's all shiny and pretty and made of cedar lattice. Secretly, I think he made it just for us. 
When I mentioned to him last month that we were buying a snowblower, his eyes brightened. He wanted in. We'd go halfsies. No more shoveling ourselves out of the wet mess of winter.
After using it last week to dig out from the 30 inches of snow we were buried in, Kevin told me I got the Nobel Prize for Best Neighbor Ever.  He, of course, forgot about all the things they had done for us. And also that he and Tara were paying half for snowblower.
So we made them pie.
This month, we decided to make a lot of pie. Originally we wanted to do a pie every day. 31 pies sounded like a great idea. Quite a few people have done something like it, including Evan Kleiman from KCRW’s Good Food (I cook while listening to the podcast every week). But then we realized we’d never do 31, at least not this year. Or this life. So we’re going to make and post as many as we can. Right now, it looks like we’re going to get close to 15. Which is still a lot of pie.
The pie we made for Kevin and Tara was a lemon curd cream icebox pie with a no-bake vanilla wafer crumb crust based upon a recipe from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I like Magnolia’s cupcakes just fine, but their other baked goods were always far more tempting when we visited. Banana pudding. Seven-layer bars. Some kind of crazy peanut butter bar. All really great and worth the wait in/on line. 
So this lemon curd cream pie seemed perfect to make us forget all the snow surrounding us outside. A giant blast of sunshine in the middle of nearly three feet of snow. And honestly, this pie is really just lemon curd, cut with whipped cream. That is about as close to inappropriate as you can get with a pie. This is rich and happy and tart, and believe it or not, not too sweet.
Lemon curd isn’t hard to make. Can you stir? Great. Then you can make lemon curd. There’s something therapeutic about stirring a pot for 20 minutes while the curd thickens, especially when the kids are refusing their naps for the day.
Make this pie over two days. Maybe even three days. Make the curd on day 1, and let it refrigerate overnight. Then, the rest of the recipe is a breeze. Blitz some vanilla wafers, smash them together with some really soft butter. Press them into a pie plate. Freeze. Meanwhile, whip up some heavy cream into stiff peaks. Fold the chilled lemon curd into the whipped cream. Pour into the frozen crust. Throw it all into the refrigerator for a few hours. Eat.
Variations: I’d gladly try this with limes or Meyer lemons. Tangerines would be crazy good. Anything tart and bright.
So, here’s to really good neighbors. And to snowblowers. And pie.

Recipe | Lemon Cream Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery
Lemon Curd 
  • 12 egg yolks, room temperature (This is only a lot if you're eating the pie by yourself. Calm down.)
  • 3 T grated lemon zest
  • 1 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced up smallish
Dump everything except the butter into a medium sauce pan. Whisk until very well combined. Turn the heat on to medium. Stir for 20 minutes. It will be thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, and piece by piece, stir in the butter until it disappears. This will be a slight challenge toward the end as the curd cools. Be brave and stir on. Throw it into a container and refrigerate overnight.


  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, super soft
  • 2 c vanilla wafer crumbs (about 3/4 of a box of vanilla wafers blitzed into crumbs in a food processor)
Put butter in large bowl. Dump in crumbs. Mix thoroughly. Use a pastry blender if you have it. A fork will do. Once combined, place into a buttered 9-inch pie dish. Press the crumbs firmly into the pie plate to make the crust. Place it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Or longer. Your call.

  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c lemon curd (from above)
Whip heavy cream in a large bowl until you get stiff peaks. Fold in the lemon curd. Be gentle. Good work. Now pull out that frozen pie crust. Dump the filling into the crust. Smooth it. Let it refrigerate for a long while. 4 hours if you can wait. Garnish with some sort of berry. Or whipped cream, because this hasn't quite been pushed over the edge of dairy and eggy bliss.

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Reader Comments (26)

I was *just* at Magnolia Bakery yesterday, and had a lemon cupcake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream icing. It was INSANELY good. Now you've not only convinced me to make this cookbook, but to bake this pie. And what a great idea - wonder if my neighbor is into getting a new snow blower. We have an electric one, but it's not nearly powerful enough for the 32 inches of snow we got last week. It took James and his brother the better part of 3 days to dig us out with any sense of completeness. We're supposed to get more snow this weekend, but I dropped the brother in law off at the airport this morning. So.. crap. I hate snow.

This looks delicious! I never realized Magnolia Bakery had a pie like this. Now I can make it myself.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJersey Girl Cooks

mmm.. lemony goodness.
I love your Pie Month idea. The world could always use more pie.

I'm getting a box of Meyer Lemons from a blogger friend who has a tree producing an abundant amount and so have to plan lots of lemony things...and lemon pie sounds perfect!

I decided three or four years ago to finally get a snow blower. 20 years in Denver and I finally make that move but it was the year of 30 inches of snow followed a week later by 15 inches of snow..enough was enough. I had to buy what was available and so ended up with a much more powerful unit than I might have considered (with a much bigger price tag too!).

I got the call it was in as the 2nd blizzard was beginning but I trekked over to Home Depot (heck, no one else on the roads) and on my way home, it was 7pm and miserable and I saw my neighbor had started shoveling already; so stopped to chat. And within minutes I had a partner in that snowblower too!

To tell you the truth, don't tell anyone OK...I love being Secret Snowblower (sort of related to Secret Santa!). People come home from work and their driveways and walks are cleared. Call me crazy but I think it's fun! But don't get me can have the storm you had this year without one coming to us and I promise not to be jealous. :)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara @ VinoLuciStyle

I love pie, and I think I love the two of you! What a brilliant plan this is, when most people are posting about kale & quinoa.

Three cheers for pie!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAimee @ Simple Bites

Your variations have me contemplating mango curd pie. It all sounds delicious.

There *should* always be more pie...I am loving that you are going to post pies all month. I've also been craving something lemon-y, so I've got this one bookmarked!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

I just LOVE cream pies. I made a pumpkin cream pie and it was absolutely amazing. This looks great too! I bought some blackberries today and I might just make this to use them!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire Gallam

Golly gee whiz... I thought it'd be easy to start watching my sweets past the holidays but this is a gotta have it kind of thing. More treadmill time would be worth it though...

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy | She Wears Many Hats

If it's a Magnolia recipe, this has to be fantastic. Looks like it came out great!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA Thought For Food

i'm in serious deep trouble here, you guys know that, right? i mean, you may just be seeing my face on that Dr Drew show - you know, the one for addicts??? if you don't recognize me at BSP2, i blame you two . . .

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

I'm not surprised that your neighbours are so thoughtful and giving towards you two. What goes arounds comes around :)
Your pie is awesome and I'm excited to see what other beautiful ones you create this month.

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

Please pass some my way. I would really appreciate it.

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

This recipe really does like easy as...yeah. Thanks for making January less bleak and more lemony.

You're a good neighbor. I'd definitely trust you to feed our cats while away on vacation (and that takes some serious trust for a crazy cat lady like myself.)

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Just thought I'd throw it out there...I'll take any leftover pies you're looking to offload. ;)

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMyMansBelly

I live in a tight-knit condo community, and I treasure my good neighbor friends. It's so nice to be able to share things with and I often share my food with them. I love that you're doing pies, and can't wait to see more recipes. This lemon curd pie looks amazing! I wish I could be your neighbor, oh wait I am in a way your office neighbor so love to get a piece of the pie action. ;)

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSavory Sweet Living

Good neighbors are hard to come by and I am lucky to have some as well who have become an extension to our family. That would be quite a challenge making 31 pies. Looking forward to seeing what other pies come out of your kitchen. I'd be happy being your neighbor!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPretend Chef

My sister is growing a fruitful Meyer lemon tree in her patio/house and so I have to send her this recipe!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandy101

YUM! I'll have just one piece please :)

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered

Congrats on the top 9! :)

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlog is the New Black

Oh, how I adore a no bake dessert! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Everyone should have (and aspire to be) great neighbors like yours!

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I'm a bit late to the party... But, had to say that this pie looks divine. I would like a slice, please!

I'd so like to be your neighbor! Love lemon curd and all that stirring is a great arm workout. Must get my hands on the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, heard lots about it lately. And, congrats on Top 9.

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

This pie sounds so delicious. How sweet that you have neighbors that care the way yours do! They sound like very caring people. IfI were your other neighbor I'd go havsies on the pies! You know, just to help out. :)


January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDionne Baldwin

Le (mon) swoon...

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

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