Lemon Mango Buttermilk Cream Icebox Pie with Baked Saltine Cracker Crust
My husband and I considered moving to Hawaii once, while there on vacation. I had just started the pie business so we had to search out some competition. We found Ted’s Bakery, a pie shop on the north shore of Oahu. Surprisingly, they only offered icebox pies. “Cream pies?!” I thought. “Pfagh!” I was still a relatively newbie in pie making and was deeply in love with making fruit pies. Since this one shop did not have fruit pies, I assumed there were no fruit pies to be had in Hawaii - which was not that big a leap considering the prices of fruit! So, if fruit was super expenseive to get there, I could not see re-starting my business in Hawaii. Plus, “I don’t really like cream pies.” Now, if we were seriously considering a move to Hawaii, I could have gotten past both of these issues… paradise has a way of doing that too you. But we didn’t and I continued making my fruit pies. Fast forward, 2 years later, we relocated to Richmond, Virginia. I'm still baking and one day, at my dentist's office, I see this copy of Southern Living Magazine – featuring, what else, ice box pies. I left the dentist's office and headed straight to the grocery story to buy my own copy. After reading through the recipes, I was hooked. I needed to make some ice box pies!
I was particularly interested the variety of crust options. While I have made lots of pies using different types of cookies, I had never seen a saltine cracker recipe. So, yeah, I had to make that.
A few days later, on a long Sunday afternoon - my husband had been gone for more than 10 days and Wesley and I were going a little stir crazy. I decided we needed to make a pie together. Could there be anything more fun for a little boy to do than crush crackers? The answer to that is "NO!"
The recipe called for 1 ½ cups of crackers which equaled 42 saltines. Using a standard 9” pie dish, I think there was probably a ½ cup too much… but that’s just me. At 1 ½ cups of crackers, the 6 tablespoons of butter was not enough to get the crackers to the right consistency, so I added in two more tablespoons of melted butter.
The recipe also recommended adding ¼ cup of sugar. As a rule, I always add about ½ the sugar called for in a recipe, so I just put in 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup).
I mixed all these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon of salt, pressed the crumbs into the pie dish and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, I turned on my oven to preheat to 325.
The recipe said to bake the crust 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. I believe all recipes should read “… bake until lightly browned. Our oven says 8 to 10 minutes, yours will be different. Take it out when it is lightly browned.” For my oven, the magic number was 15 minutes.
Making the Mango Lemon Buttermilk filling was another adventure. We did not have any buttermilk and were too comfortable in our pajamas to contemplate a trip to the store. Rather than scrap our plans all together, I did one quick internet search and I discovered that you can make your own buttermilk! Our pie recipe only called for ¼ cup of buttermilk so I scaled down my “make your own buttermilk” recipe. Making the buttermilk added about 10 minutes to our process, so we made the buttermilk after the crust was in the oven.
I opened, separated, cut, processed and measured the rest of the ingredients into prep bowls and let Wesley add them to the mixing bowl and stir, whisk and mix to his hearts content.
I poured the cream mixture into the chilled cracker crust and baked at 325. Again, the recipe says 20 to 25 minutes. My oven kept the pie for 35 minutes.
Icebox pies have to chill completely in the refrigerator or freezer before you can enjoy them. And before putting them in the refrigerator, they have to cool to room temperature. Fortunately, assembling the pie leaves a big mess of bowls, spatulas, whisks and spoons. Once all the dishes were cleaned, the pie was at room temperature. So, I tented some foil over the pie and put it in the refrigerator while Wesley and I headed to the pool.
Six hours later (after dinner), I made some fresh whipped cream, picked some mint from my herb garden and took some photos before digging in.
This pie was so good! For me, there was too much crust and not enough custard. The actual recipe suggests throwing out some of the mango puree! I say, cut back on the crust and add more mango so I have adjusted the recipe below to accomplish that (adapted from the one published in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine).
Mango Lemon Buttermilk Icebox Pie with Baked Saltine Cracker Crust
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (24-25 crackers)
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
Put 24 -25 saltine crackers in a zip lock bag and crush them with your hands or a rolling pin until there are no large pieces visible. Put crackers crumbs in a large bowl.
Add melted butter, sugar and salt to bowl and mix until the crumbs look and feel damp and clump together easily. Add more butter if needed.
Press the crumbs evenly into a regular 9” pie dish – starting in the middle and working your way up and around the sides.
Place the crust in the freezer for at least 30 minutes then preheat your oven to 325.
Bake the crust until lightly browned. My crust stayed in my oven for 15 minutes, yours will be different. Take it out when it is lightly browned.
Let the crust cool to room temperature.
1 ½ cup mango (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (can be non-fat or low fat)
Zest of 1 lemon
3 egg yolks
Bring 2/3 to ¾ cups water to a boil.
Cut mango into chunks and put in a blender with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the hot water and process until smooth. Let cool.
Add the condensed milk, lemon zest and mango puree together in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer at high speed, add in the egg yolks and beat for 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the condensed milk mixture and whisk until combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
Bake at 325 until the filling is set. My pie stayed in the oven for 35 minutes. The edges should be set and the center should be a little jiggly.
Cool on a wire rack for an hour.
Cover with tented foil and chill for 4 to 6 hours.
Top with fresh whipped cream and mint and enjoy!!