Lemon Lime Cream Slab Pie

So, apparently, last Saturday was the ultimate Pi day of the century.

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And I thought, for my very first blogger Pi day, I should join the rest of the million bloggers who would post a pie that day and share this wonderful Lemon Lime Cream Slab Pie. It was planned on my editorial calendar… I bought all of the ingredients…but Pi day came and went and there was no pie.  Well, at least not one that I personally made.

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I didn’t even know Pi day existed until two or three years ago, but my kids are all about it now.  If my daughter reminded me once, she reminded me a hundred times that this was the ultimate Pi day because this year, it was 3-14-15. Then she did a happy dance when the clock struck 9:26 a.m., because then, we were really Pi-ing it.

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Why oh why was there no pie?  Probably because the last few weeks have been cah-razy busy and we had family in town that week for a special event. And, during said week, I pulled off the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream and then the Chocolate Stout Cake Crumb Truffles.  So I guess St. Patrick’s Day simply trumped Pi Day this year.

But on our way to drop my sister off at the airport (on Pi day,) my kids said we must have pie to eat that day. They wanted to go home and bake one.  Um….no.  We weren’t getting home from the airport until 4 or 5 and I wasn’t going make pie magically appear shortly thereafter. So after the airport drop off, we stopped by Whole Foods and picked up a pie.  Done and done.  My daughter made a pi symbol on top of her slice with chocolate syrup, just to fully seal the deal.

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So here’s the pie that I had planned to post that day.  It’s another slab pie, one of the very best pie categories. Slab pies are just that, big slabs of pie that are baked on a sheet, not in a round pie pan. You might remember Apricot Cherry Slab Pie? That is a family favorite.  I could wax on about how it has the perfect filling to crust ratio and how wonderful it works out when you need lots of pie for a crowd…or how much easier it is to slice than traditional pie, but, I won’t.  Check out the post and see that giant pop tart looking yummy thing for yourself.  Or, stay here and read on.

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This slab pie has a cookie crust, so if pastry crusts intimidate you at all, this pie promises to be your friend.  The cookie crust is delicious.  If you haven’t made a crust with vanilla wafers yet, I urge you to do so. Not only is it easy to make, but it makes such a flavorful sweet, buttery, vanilla base for all kinds of pie. And, it smells like vanilla sugar cookies when it’s baking. (I know, it is essentially a vanilla sugar cookie, but you didn’t get to smell it bake the first time…so consider this a bonus round :)

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I adapted this pie from my favorite lemon lime tart recipe. I didn’t make too many changes; I basically just doubled it and used butter instead of margarine and whole sweetened condensed milk instead of low fat, (because it’s what I had,) then topped it all off with whipped cream and white chocolate.  If you want to use the low fat sweetened condensed milk, go ahead. I usually do and it works just as well. And, if you don’t need pie for a crowd, cut the recipe in half and make a tart instead.

This Lemon Lime Cream Slab Pie is a pretty easy one, as far as pies go, and will be a wonderful creamy lemon lime slice of yum that you’ll love today, tomorrow or for a future Pi day. I think you should make it today, though, because every day…

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is a good day for pie :)

 

Lemon Lime Cream Slab Pie

Yield: about 20 servings

Lemon Lime Cream Slab Pie

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces vanilla wafers (about 88 cookies, I used Trader Joe's Ultimate Vanilla Wafers)
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, softened (1/2 stick)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk (low fat is fine)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (or heavy cream)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • white chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1 inch baking sheet/jelly roll pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. (If you don't want to remove the whole pie from the pan, skip the foil and just spray the pan.)
  2. Place wafers in a food processor and process until finely ground. I did this in two batches, processing the first batch then emptying onto a paper plate. When the second batch was finely ground, I added the first batch back into the processor with the second and proceeded with the next step.
  3. Add sugar. Pulse a few times to combine; then add the softened butter and egg whites and process until fully combined, scraping down sides, if necessary.
  4. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan. You should have a good one inch border to be able to hold your filling and topping later. To make this easier, I crumble the crust mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan before I start pressing so that I'm basically just flattening and pressing the crumbs together. I may crumble some extra near the sides to insure there's enough to get the height I need.
  5. Bake crust at 325 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the zest, juices, eggs and milk until fully combined. It should look light, creamy and lemony.
  7. Pour mixture into cooled crust. If you have bubbles, drop the pan from a few inches above your counter to pop them and release the air. I had to do this 3 or 4 times to get rid of the bubbles. (Don't worry if they all don't pop. You're going to cover it all with whipped cream later.)
  8. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely.
  9. Use the foil to lift the pie out of the pan, for easy slicing and serving.
  10. For the topping, in a medium mixing bowl, whip cream and powdered sugar until you reach stiff peaks. Spread evenly over cooled pie. Top with white chocolate shavings, if desired.
  11. You may serve right away or refrigerate for a few hours before cutting for the cleanest slices. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, lightly covered. I tented the foil before sealing around the edges so that the whipped cream would not be disturbed.

Notes

*I actually fully assembled this dessert and covered it loosely with foil in the refrigerator the day before I shot it. It held up beautifully for the next day and even the day after. I think you're easily good for up to three days. Be careful with storage; if you have any strong flavors in your refrigerator, they may transfer to the pie.

*Update 4-20-15...I froze slices of the pie very successfully. I just wrapped each individually in wax paper, then tossed them in a freezer bag. It was good as a frozen treat and still delish when thawed.

*The sugar and cornstarch in the powdered sugar stabilize the whipped cream and keep it from weeping.

*Liquid egg whites are fine for this recipe, if you don't want to separate eggs.

*The pie has a creamy lemon lime flavor, it's not tart like a lemon square, which I also love. Next time, I might increase the lemon zest and add some lime zest to punch up the flavor even more, although everyone that's ever had it this way has loved it and wanted seconds.

*I might also try reducing the sugar in the crust next time to 3 Tablespoons. Great as is, but lately my tastes are edging toward a little less sweet.

*If you want a smaller pie, cut the recipe in half and bake in a 9" round tart pan. Baking times will remain the same.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine, June 1998

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