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Serve this irresistible No-Bake County Fair Lemon Pie on special occasions like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, or anytime you need an easy lemon dessert. This one will be the blue ribbon winner for sure…
County Fair Lemon Pie
There are dozens of methods for lemon pie on the internet. In the summertime, I don’t necessarily want to turn my oven on, so I make a no-bake version of lemon pie. Though it does do a brief stint on my stove top, I’m not heating my kitchen up. The finished pie is sweet and tart and custardy all at the same time.
What’s nice about this recipe is that it employs sour cream and egg yolks to gain consistency. Sour cream keeps it on the less sugary side of things, too. For the crust, go with graham cracker crumbs or do what I do and whirl up some of your fave cookies in the food processor and use those! Oh, and you’ll need some lemons. Fresh is the absolute best and you’ll TASTE the difference in that first bite!
The refrigerator does the rest. Lemon custard filling is poured into a cookie crust and popped into the chiller until it sets. I get good vibes from my crew when I serve a slice of this puckery pie with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. A dusting of powdered sugar is a nice sweet touch!
The key to making the filling thicken properly is cornstarch and heat. This old-fashioned County Fair Lemon Pie is a legitimate ‘lemon lovers’ dessert.
This crudely constructed County Fair Lemon Pie recipe starts with freshly squeezed lemons and sugar. The light and creamy lemon filling gets a custard-like texture from the addition of sour cream and egg yolks. The richness requires only a simple cookie crust, but graham cracker crumbs work well, too.
The fact that this recipe is no-bake is just a huge plus. The custard thickens up on the stove-top, so there’s no turning on the oven. It comes together quickly and easily, is bursting with pungent lemon flavor, and has a wonderfully creamy texture.
I love that it’s chilled, as it makes the ideal finishing touch to a hot meal served off the grill. Serve this irresistible County Fair Lemon Pie on special occasions like Mother’s Day or a birthday or anytime you need an easy lemon dessert. This one will be the blue ribbon winner for sure…
Do You Have What’s Needed To Make County Fair Lemon Pie? Check The List!
for the cookie crust
biscotti cookies or graham cracker crumbs
light brown sugar
for the lemon custard filling
homemade sweetened whipped cream
How This No-Bake Lemon Pie Came About…
Rummaging through the last box of paperwork that came out of my Grandmother’s house, I found this recipe. Gram was famous for scribbling everything from recipes to important stock market trade information of the flaps of ripped envelopes.
This recipe for lemon pie was written down and jammed in the box. It was among the pounds of paper I sadly sifted through, missing her in my mind.
The recipe title read ‘Lemon or Key Lime Pie, No Meringue.’ In the top left corner was the word ‘EASY.’ That was Grams recipe rating system for if she had a good bake or dinner come out and everybody liking it.
The crust combines ground biscotti, brown sugar, and a little melted butter to bring it all together. Again, no baking required.
I read through the method written in her hand. It did look easy. A handful of crushed graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, bottled lemon juice…it honestly looked like a recipe she might have copied from the newspaper back in the 70s, but who ever really knows. All I know is that I was put off a bit by the ingredients used.
Homemade pie is a treat for everyone who gets to enjoy a slice. My family can’t get enough of this unbelievably delicious no-bake pie. Once the ingredients are prepped, the recipe itself comes together in under 15 minutes. The cruelty comes after it’s assembled when it must first cool down, then chill completely in the refrigerator. You’ll have this County Fair Lemon Pie on your mind until the moment you are able to slice into it.
The longer a lemon meringue pie raced through my mind, the more I knew I wasn’t up for baking one. But, a lemon pie filling with a cookie pie crust was doable…as long as I exchanged the ingredients in Grams recipe to fresh ingredients. Yes, a no bake lemon pie recipe was just the ticket. Once again, it came from my Grandmother.
Lemon pie with condensed milk is to me, a very old fashioned lemon pie. It was an ingredient used pretty often during and after the Depression when canned milk was often the only milk. In my updated method, I have swapped the condensed milk for regular milk, egg yolks, and cornstarch. The creaminess comes from the sour cream which I thought was a better idea than cream cheese.
What To Serve With County Fair Lemon Pie?
Definitely go the extra mile. A lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream is the pièce de résistance on this one folks. Whipped just until soft peaks form and the tiniest amount of sweetener. Heaven. That, and possibly a light dusting of confectioners sugar. The lemon slices pretty it up. I once dusted only the lemon slices before garnishing. Funny enough, the tart/sweet encouraged my eaters to have a taste!
When To Serve County Fair Lemon Pie?
This creamy lemon pie recipe would best be enjoyed in the spring and summer months when baking is out of the question. I see it as a fantastic addition to an Easter table, a Mother’s Day celebration, or birthday. It’s a crudely assembled ‘fancy pie’ without being haute.
What Is The Best Pie Crust For County Fair Lemon Pie?
Let’s talk crust for a minute. I use a traditional biscotti, whirled up in my food processor. Any hard cookie will work.
If you like it on the sweeter side, Walkers Shortbread are a favorite of mine that I have used on the blog before, most recently in A Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust. And in a pinch, you can always fall back on a graham cracker crust.
What I prefer about the biscotti is that it’s a hard cookie that makes for a hard crumb that stands up without being too sweet. It’s a fantastic compliment to the conspicuously tart lemon.
I prefer to leave my edges rough. My Grandmother almost always left her edges rough and un-prettied, so I do it, too. I am using her old pie dish to prepare this in today, and snapped a picture of it rustic charm, missing paint and all…
This pie is easily made ahead and topped with dollops of homemade whipped cream a few hours before serving. County Fair Lemon Pie holds up well in the refrigerator, but is best eaten within a day or two.
What Are Some Pro Tips For Making County Fair Lemon Pie?
I ONLY advise using freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of those lemons in this recipe. Yes, it takes some time to prep the ingredients, and I get that. Good things in life take time.
I have given this recipe out in the past and received feedback that “bottled lemon juice just didn’t do it.” I assure you that I would never give a recipe out knowing that somebody would immediately start substituting. Certainly not the main ingredient, anyway.
I am sure to point out that the fresh lemons are not substitutable. Take the time, gather your fresh ingredients, buy a super yummy biscotti, and make this County Fair Lemon Pie with lots of love!
County Fair Lemon Pie
- 9 or 10-inch pie dish
For the Biscotti Crust
- 2 ¾ cups biscotti, put through food processor to fine crumbs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
For the Lemon Custard Filling
- 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 5 egg yolks, beaten
- zest and juice of 5 lemons
- 1 ½ cups sour cream
- 1 cup freshly whipped and sweetened cream
- slices of fresh lemon
Prepare the Biscotti Crust
- Pulse the biscotti in a food processor until they are fine crumbs
- In a large bowl, mix together the biscotti crumbs, 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar. At this step, you may save 1/3 cup of the crust mixture aside if you plan to use them atop the finished pie later on. See my photo.
- Using a straight-edge measure cup or a drinking glass, press the biscotti mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 1/2 inch pie plate. Set aside.
Prepare the Lemon Custard Filling
- In a medium non-stick sauce pan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.
- Turn heat on to medium and immediately whisk in milk, eggs, zest, juice and 1/2 cup butter. Using a rubber spatula, stir constantly being sure to 'scrape' the bottom of the sauce pan with each stir so that the liquid custard is not able to idle and scorch.
- Stir and scrape over medium heat until liquid custard thickens significantly, about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Once custard is thickened, remove from heat and pour into a medium sized bowl to stop cooking process.
- Whisk in sour cream and continue to whisk until smooth.
- Pour lemon custard into prepared biscotti crust and refrigerate. The pie does not need to be covered with plastic wrap.
- Allow pie to chill at least 1 hour.
To Garnish and Serve
- If you have heavy whipping cream and can beat your own fresh whipped cream, do so. This rustic pie is gorgeous with a few stiff dolops of whipped cream and deserves fresh. If you saved aside some of the biscotti crust crumbles, sprinkle atop. I also like to garnish with a couple slices of fresh lemon, then cut into quarters. Sweet candied lemon peels would be an equally beautiful accompaniment.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.
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