Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Atlantic Beach Pie

Atlantic Beach Pie with Elizabeth Graeber Illustrated Place Settings

After collaborating on an illustrated Peppermint Pattie Tart place setting for BYT's holiday table decor guide, Elizabeth and I decided to turn it into a series. Each month in 2014, we'll bring you a new installment of Hand Drawn Pies-- thematically illustrated place setting 'n' pie combination for your viewing and tasting enjoyment. 
Atlantic Beach Pie Illustration by Elizabeth Graeber
Nothing like a polar vortex to make you long for salty beach air and warm and salty summer days. Though you may not be able to take a getaway (the plane may not even be able to takeoff with all this snow), this salty citrus pie can take you there for a moment in your mind.

Atlantic Beach Pie is a classic at seafood restaurants along the North Carolina coast. According to Bill Smith, who grew up in that area, if you ate sweets after a meal of seafood, you'd get sick. The only exception was a lemon-lime pie with a saltine crust and a meringue top.

Atlantic Beach Pie with Illustrated Scene by Elizabeth Graeber

This version, which replaces the meringue with whipped cream, comes from Smith, the chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. I'd read the article about the pie on NPR, but didn't drink the Kool-Aid until I'd tried the original, while on a visit back to my old Carolina grad school haunts. Now this pie has found it's rightful place in my repertoire-- not only is it a heavenly trio of tangy, salty, and sweet, it is also a cinch to make. The ease and lightness makes it perfect for any vacation, whether in the snowy West Virginia mountains or in the hot sand on Kure Beach, after seafood or not.

Beach People Illustration by Elizabeth Graeber
Atlantic Beach Pie
Atlantic Beach Pie
Adapted from Bill Smith of Crook's Corner via NPR

For the crust:
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling:
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt (I used Himalayan pink salt) for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Crush the crackers finely but not to dust, using a food processor or just your hands, and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs come together like dough. Press into a 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes until the crust begins to color.

2. While the crust is cooling (it doesn't need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. Make sure everything is completely combined. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. Let cool completely to room temperature and refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.
Saltine Cracker Illustration by Elizabeth Graeber
Atlantic Beach Pie Slice

Lemon Illustration by Elizabeth Graeber
Related recipes:
Florida Grapefruit-White Chocolate Pie
Key Lime Pie Popsicles
Lemon Chess Pie
Lemon-Ginger Meringue Tartlets
Lemon Meringue Pie
"Levon Helm's" Lemon Icebox Pie
Lime & Raspberry Italian Meringue Pie

Illustrations by Elizabeth Graeber

1 comment:

Daryl said...

This is terrific. I took it to a book club meeting last week and it was a hit with all who tried it' Sweet tangy salty perfection!

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