August 15 is Lemon Meringue Pie Day. That’s right, every year the tart and sweet lemon meringue pie gets a day all her own. And, of course, at Papa C’s Pies we would never let such a momentous occasion go by without honoring our own version. In our case, we call it Lemon Icebox Pie.
According to the pie-history authorities, the first lemon meringue pie recipe was created in the 1800s by Elizabeth Goodfellow, a pastry shop owner and founder of the first American cooking school in Philadelphia. Mrs. Goodfellow apparently had a lot of egg whites leftover after making her lemon custard. Not wanting to be wasteful, one day she decided to whip up those egg whites into a fluffy meringue and use it to top the lemon custard – behold, lemon meringue pie!
Papa C’s Lemon Icebox Pie is a variation on Mrs. Goodfellow’s version. Now you may be wondering why it’s called “icebox” pie. Before the invention of modern refrigerators, folks used to have iceboxes, literally an insulated box in which they placed a large block of ice so they could store foods that needed to be kept cool.
The icebox pie is generally considered a Southern staple. Owing to the oppressive heat often experienced during summer months in the South, homemakers didn’t really want to fire up the oven to bake a pie for the family. The answer was a creamy, no-bake dessert made with sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and a thickening agent. Most of these recipes call for gently heating the mixture on the stove before pouring it into a pie crust, then putting it in the refrigerator – or icebox – to cool and set.
Here at Papa C’s, we use a very similar recipe, starting with our made-from-scratch graham cracker crust. We use real lemon juice in our creamy filling, combined with sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. This mixture is poured into the delicious graham cracker crust and topped with Swiss meringue. The result is a sweet, smooth, perfectly tart bite of heaven.
Don’t let Lemon Meringue Pie Day slip past without indulging in Papa C’s Lemon Icebox Pie. You can order online, call us, or just pop by the storefront to get your dish of lemony deliciousness.