A few weeks ago, my fellow volunteer and friend Monica started bringing bags of lemons from her tree to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, sharing them with me, other volunteers and park rangers. And I knew exactly what I would make for Thanksgiving: A No-Bake Lemon Pie. Then, my own lemon tree--about the size and shape of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree--started fruiting. Take it from me, there's nothing more satisfying than making a dish with ingredients from your own yard. Now, that doesn't mean I'm all Martha Stewart these days, because I am the first to exclaim how good those store-bought, frozen pie crusts are, and I willingly admit I made my lemon pie with just such a purchase. The people who ate my pie, actually liked it--or said they did. And for them--Nicki, Susan and Monica--I am grateful. Because you asked--and maybe you were just being polite--here's the recipe.
No-Bake Lemon Pie*
Lemon curd is a creamy, sweet-tart spread served with scones and tea in England. The lightened-up version in this easy-to-make pie filling also doubles as a dessert sauce for cake and gingerbread. Or try it on pancakes for a tangy morning treat.
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
3 large eggs
1 5-oz. can fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs. lemon zest
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 9-inch prepared graham cracker crust
Fresh or candied lemon slices, optional
1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in bowl. Set aside. Whisk together eggs and evaporated milk in another bowl. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar-cornstarch mixture to eggs; whisk to combine. Transfer to saucepan.
2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Continue to cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly, or until mixture has thickened and whisk strokes leave defined lines in mixture. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter until melted. Press lemon curd through sieve into bowl to eliminate any lumps.
3. Pour curd into graham cracker crust. (I used a store-bought, frozen pie crust that I baked and allowed to cool before adding the curd.) Cool on wire rack, and chill well before serving. Decorate with fresh or candied lemon slices, if desired.
*From Vegetarian Times, January 2006.