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!
2cupsgraham cracker crumbsfrom about 12 to 14 cracker sheets
4large egg yolks
2tablespoonsunsalted butterat room temperature
1tablespoonfinely grated lemon zest
6tablespoonsfresh lemon juicefrom 2 to 3 lemons
1cupheavy creamvery cold
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.