This lemon cream pie is a must for lemon lovers–sweet, tart, creamy, and made using simple ingredients you probably already have on hand right now!
Hello, hello! Greetings from Honduras! I’m writing this post before I leave so I can’t tell you what I’m actually doing right now, but I can tell you what I hope I’m doing: Sitting on the beach with an umbrella drink, reading some very trashy fiction.
Since I know most of you probably aren’t on vacay right now I thought that today I’d bring you something that at least tastes like sunshine. LEMON CREAM PIE.
It’s creamy, it’s citrusy, and OMG is it ever good. (Unless bright, lemony desserts aren’t your thing. Good is relative I guess.)
Why you’ll love this lemon cream pie
- The ingredients are all easy to find and you probably have most on hand right now
- You don’t need any special equipment to make it
- The pie needs to chill for awhile before you serve it, so it’s a great make-ahead option
How to Make a Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Graham cracker crusts are my favorite because a) they’re SUPER easy to make and way less fussy than a pastry crust and b) I love graham crackers. The crunch of the crust is a gorgeous contrast to the creamy filling.
To make the graham crust for your lemon cream pie, just combined graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until all the crumbs are saturated with butter.
Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate—really compress the crumbs so there’s plenty of room for the pie filling and topping. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool while you make the filling.
How to Make Lemon Cream Pie Filling
Start by heating whole milk over medium heat until it’s very hot. Add the sugar and salt and continue cooking until the sugar dissolves. (I don’t have pictures of this process because it literally just looks like milk in a saucepan. . .)
While the milk is heating, set egg yolks in a bowl by the stove. Once your milk is hot and the sugar is dissolved, whisk cornstarch into the egg yolks.
Whisking constantly, gradually add half a cup of the hot milk mixture—go really slowly, just a tablespoon at a time at first, so you don’t scramble the eggs.
Once you’ve whisked in a full half cup, pour that mixture back into the saucepan and return the pan to medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture just begins to boil, then cook for 30 seconds. You really need to whisk here or your mixture will scramble.
Remove from the heat and whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and immediately cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the filling’s surface. (This prevents a skin from forming on top. Yuck.)
Cool the pie to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (The pie is easier to cut when it’s really cold.)
When you’re ready to serve, whip heavy cream and powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks, then spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the pie.
Baker’s tip: Always make whipped cream with very cold heavy cream or whipping cream. You can also chill your bowl and beaters—this helps your cream whip faster and your final product will turn out lighter and more creamy, plus it will have more volume.
I like to pop the finished pie in the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden the cream topping a little (so the pie is easier to slice) but that’s not necessary. Even messy slices of lemon cream pie are totally delicious!
I hope you make this pie for yourself very soon. It’s just the thing to get you dreaming of warm days (if you’re not already dreaming)!
Did you make this lemon cream pie? Fantastic! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Be sure to post a pic on IG too–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see (and share!) your creations!
This lemon cream pie is a must-make for lemon lovers--it's creamy, it's sweet, it's tart, and it tastes like sunshine!
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 12 to 14 cracker sheets
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 2 to 3 lemons
- 1 cup heavy cream very cold
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly saturated with the butter. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (Really compress the crust—you want to be sure you have room for all of the filling.)
- Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you work on the filling.
- Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and set it next to the stove.
- Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for a few minutes, until milk is very hot but not boiling. Add the sugar and salt and cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
- Quickly whisk the cornstarch into the yolks until well combined. Whisking the egg yolks constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk-sugar mixture. Continue whisking until completely smooth and free of lumps of cornstarch.
- Stir the egg mixture into the remaining milk-sugar mixture and set the pan over medium heat.
- Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 30 seconds. (It will be a very slow boil.)
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour into the crust and immediately top with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the filling.
- Cool pie completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours (or overnight).
- Once the pie has chilled, combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the cream holds stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla.
Spread the whipped cream over the chilled pie, then slice and serve.*
- *I like to pop the finished pie in the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden the cream topping a little (so the pie is easier to slice) but that’s not absolutely necessary.
- Be sure you start your whipped cream with cold heavy cream (a cold bowl and cold beaters help too!).
- Pie will last, loosely covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Adapted from How to Bake Everything