Crunchy, buttery, smooth, sweet, salty, citrusy. I have no idea how else to explain this amazing pie. While visiting my friends Jason and Kelly Wescott in Seattle recently, Jason made this dessert that he had heard about on NPR called Atlantic Beach Pie which comes from Bill Smith's Crook's Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It starts with a saltine cracker crust topped with a sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk and lemon juice mixture and then crowned with slightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled coarse sea salt. I promised myself I would make it when I returned home and I have now done so, twice. Somehow all these combinations of textures and tastes makes this a dessert you will crave, again and again. The recipe below yields one pie, about 6-8 servings.
1. You may think that you've made too much crust. Abandon the thought. You'll want all that crunchy saltiness at the end. Just pack it in.
2. The dessert can rest in the refrigerator overnight and it tastes delicious the next day. I wouldn't keep it longer than that.
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 Tbs sugar
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a combination of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust with a food processor or your hands.
3. Add the sugar.
4. Knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough.
5. Press into an 8 inch pie pan.
6. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.
7. While the crust is cooling, beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice until completely combined.
8. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set.
9. Cool out of the oven for 15 minutes then place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
10. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.