Friday recipe: Let us eat pie

Today is the day that made me a mom: Nineteen years ago this morning, our son arrived in all his nine-pound, nine-ounce glory, and he’s been (mostly) a great joy since then. In his honor, today I loosen my dessert rules (summarized: don’t have it) to serve up this yummy-sounding indulgence I heard about on National Public Radio.

Birthday pie that'll make you sigh.
Birthday pie that’ll make you sigh.

NPR shared the experience of Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket. She’d visited Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, which she described as a “shrimp and grits, fried oysters and hush puppies kind of Southern food restaurant.” There she went gaga over chef Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie, a magical mixture of crispy and salty and tanginess and sweetness.

“I think the only reaction I had was, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,'” she told NPR. “For quite a while that was pretty much the only thing I could say.”

I say Happy Birthday and pass the pie.

Atlantic Beach Pie
For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 1/3-1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • For the filling:
  • 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice, or a mix of both
  • Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an eight-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk and then beat in the citrus juice, combining ingredients completely. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

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