The Covered Dish
By Debbie Dance Uhrig
Has everyone looked at the calendar? 4th of July is just around the corner. If there’s one thing that’s come full circle through Covid, it’s the following: Have more fun and enjoy yourselves. It is ok to ‘buy’ some of the items for gatherings.
This past week we were in Kansas City for just a couple of days. As we visited with friends we made a decision not to cook so much when we get together. All of our time is spent in the kitchen. I said that didn’t I? Sounds like I’m turning over a new leaf….not really, just desiring to enjoy time with family and friends a bit more.
As I thought about what recipe to share this week I was truly thinking about the 4th of July and planning a meal that was super easy. One way to do that is make freezer pies for dessert. They can be made 2-3 weeks in advance. I do chocolate and peanut butter freezer pies, along with the lemon it sounds very refreshing.
Remember about 3 weeks ago I shared my sourdough recipe? Well this past week I baked for the first time, with the new starter. The flavor was ‘good’, but with perhaps 2-3 more feeds it will be ‘singing’ again. I’ve never seen 6 loaves of bread disappear so dog gone fast. The other plus was I started three other friends
with a new start too. After I finish the column I’m headed back to the kitchen to stir up 6 loaves tonight. In the morning I’ll break them down and bake Monday night. There are lots of additional recipes floating around for coffeecakes, regular cakes and the like, using the one cup portion of starter.
The ingredients for the lemon pie are pretty simplistic. If you need to use bottled lemon juice it’s ok, but the flavor will be better using fresh lemons. Typically I get about 3 tablespoons of juice from one average lemon. Zest the lemon before juicing, I find it easier.
Crusts, I ‘never’ and I mean ‘never’ use pre-crumbled graham crackers, in a box. The flavor is poor and what you make with crackers is tons better in taste. A pretzel crust wouldn’t be bad under this pie either…..
Because of the sweet condensed milk the pie is going to carry a pretty heavy sugar content. Consider going about the pie in another direction. Use sugar free lemon pudding, making it with only 12 ounces of liquid. With the cream cheese still in place I’m pretty confident this will still set up.
This week I’m praying that our landscaping project gets completed, in the front yard. We’ve looked a mess for about 4-5 weeks. Thanks to all the heavy rains, we have experienced work delays close to a week, at a time. We have had so much rain that it’s difficult to find an accessible boat ramp. The floating café we enjoy at Indian Point has twice the gangway as usual, in an attempt to stay open.
We’re going to see the sun for the next 7 days, yeah! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. thecovereddish.com
Refrigerator/Icebox Lemon Pie
(2) 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 of an 8 ounce container of whipped cream or
1 1/2 cups fresh whipped cream with 1/4 cup sugar added
2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
1 1/2 cups finely crumbled graham crackers
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
Prepare a graham cracker crust in a standard nine-inch pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes and cool. While the crust is cooling soften the cream cheese until it blends smoothly with a whisk. Stir in condensed milk, lemon juice, zest and food coloring (if desired). Blend with a spoon or whisk until all ingredients are smooth with no lumps. Lastly fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into the cooled graham cracker crust. This should allow for a light amount of ‘mounding’ so the pie is not flat!
The dessert can be refrigerated and served after 7-8 hours of refrigeration, or it may be frozen. If you freeze the pie set out at room temperature, (70 degrees approx.) for about 30-45 minutes before garnishing and serving. For the topping I usually end with a small dollop of whipping cream, a little wedge of lemon and a mint leaf.