Debbie Dance Uhrig
I think it’s time for a cool refreshing summer pie. Something that makes you want to put your feet up and forget about the chores that still need to be done. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? Hey, I’m telling ya’ll I’m right there with you. I have a terrible time relaxing when there’s still work to be done. When I was growing up there was no ‘chillin’ til the work was done. Times have changed and I try to look at achieving balance these days. By the way this paragraph is literally smacking me right in the old chin, because I think I could be preaching to myself!
I propose that we discuss foods for a bit. You’ll be delighted to turn my lemon pie into an orange pie or even a berry dessert without much frustration. In the old days I didn’t look at the core of a recipe like I do today. Some of my guests at work tell me it’s their favorite part of coming to my classes. When I start twisting recipes into a totally different dish. I always say let the creative juices flow.
Crust, there are so many different directions to travel with a refrigerator or icebox pie. I’m currently working on a new banana cream refrigerator pie. The crust is still up in the air as to what I’m going to create. Today I’ve included a simple recipe for a standard graham cracker crust. But don’t stop there! Take a stroll down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. You’ll find Oreo’s, Pecan Sandie’s of every variation, lemon cookies, peanut butter, OK, are you starting to catch on?
That’s right, crumble the cookies extremely fine, add a bit of butter and make an original crust for your next icebox pie. Now if you’re wondering how many cookies it will take? Hm..I’d start with like 14 Pecan Sandie’s and go from there. With the butter I would use 3-4 tablespoons. Additional sugar will not be necessary.
Let’s take things into another direction with crusts and crumbles. I am a sucker for a bowl of Golden Grahams cereal, even Honey Crisp have that nice waffle like taste. That’s right, get outside the box! Perhaps one of my favorite crusts is a pretzel crust. With all the different flavors of pretzels on the market you could certainly do something unique. Consider an appetizer cheesecake with a jalapeno pretzel crust!
Perhaps the best part about refrigerator and icebox pies is the fact that we can make them ahead of time. Once again removing the stress the day of the dinner party. I also think they make great presentations for wedding showers and luncheons. There are still many individuals out there who have never had the opportunity to make a pastry pie. For these folks making an icebox pies makes them feel like they’ve at least scratched the surface of pie making.
What’s new on the home front? Not too much. Our son, Phillip, got his first truck, a 1996 Ford 150. However, I may have told you about this event previously. I’ve been making loads of corn salsa and carrot cake jam! We have a canning class coming up real soon at Silver Dollar City. Each guest not only shares lunch and an extended class, but they also take home a jar of each demonstrated item. It’s a very fun day for all of us at the culinary school. I’m also on a bit of a cleaning kick. Don’t worry, I don’t think it’s contagious!
Enjoy each precious day. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.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.