Invoice Smith is a North Carolina culinary treasure. If his Crook’s Corner predecessor, Invoice Neal’s legacy was shrimp and grits, Bill Smith’s* legacy is Atlantic Seashore Pie.
Due to the fact he has popularized this simple regional pie, it is no for a longer time just a recipe written on a pale index card or in an old group cookbook. It has turn into these kinds of a “thing” that Ohio-primarily based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Product made an Atlantic Seashore Pie flavor a couple of a long time back.
A person of my favorite recollections of Invoice Smith was checking out him at his cafe, Crook’s Corner, on a day that the cafe was closed. But that is not to say that there was no activity in the kitchen area. The restaurant was closed but Bill himself was producing dozens of Atlantic Seashore Pies for a unique event that he was web hosting. As we spoke he took sheet trays complete of 9-inch pies in and out of the oven gracefully like he was dancing. He has created these pies so several times that he did not miss a beat, continuing our conversation as if we were being sitting down next to each and every other chatting at leisure.
Like Monthly bill, I also grew up with this thick and creamy tart and sweet lemon pie. I recall it generally from the fish joints in Morehead Town which is across the bridge from Atlantic Seashore, North Carolina. It was also one particular of the straightforward and foolproof Girl Scout recipes that our troop baked with completely ready-manufactured mini graham-cracker pie shells.
In investigating this recipe, I found that the filling was virtually usually the similar, lemon juice, lime and lemon juice, or sometimes key lime juice sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Sometimes, lemon zest and a pinch of salt had been extra but it is effectively a few ingredients. The pie was generally served bare on the plate where by you could see the jiggle of the filling, or occasionally a meringue— manufactured from the leftover egg whites—topped it.
As far as I can recall, the pie was largely created with a pre-designed graham cracker crust which was superior but not fantastic. When I go through the recipes in local community cookbooks, I found that vanilla wafers and Ritz crackers had been also utilised to make the crust.
Most often, the pie was outlined merely as Lemon Pie. You can also obtain the recipe entitled Lemon Icebox Pie, Down East Lemon Pie, or even Lemon-Milk Pie but everyone understood that it was the chilly, creamy sweetened condensed milk-lemon pie.
Bill Smith re-named the pie Atlantic Seaside Pie in honor of the fish residences and the tradition of eating this tart lemon pie following a seafood dinner. He says that his mother taught him that any other dessert immediately after seafood would render one sick. Regardless of whether that is correct or not, it is genuine in North Carolina that a lemon dessert was the chosen “choice” right after a menu of seafood.
Monthly bill does not assert to have created the pie, but he unquestionably popularized it. I personally consider he enhanced it. The genius of Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie is the buttery saltine crust and the real whipped product on prime. The great chunk is a bit of the crunchy a little sweet and salty crackers filled with the milky sweet tart jiggly pie and tender pillowy whipped cream. It seriously is OMG excellent and that is the serious motive that it has come to be a issue!
There are embellished recipes out there that use egg white or corn syrup to bind the crust, but you never want to insert them. If you wish, you can incorporate a little far more butter so the crumbs bake solidly.
I have tailored Bill’s recipe to use a disposable 8-inch sq. pan with lid so that the dessert is quick to transportation and you can get 12 squares out of the “pie.” I like my whipped product simple with no sugar so it balances out the sweet of the condensed milk but if you like issues on the sweeter side, increase a little bit of sugar to the cream.
However you serve it, it is a marvelous dessert to carry to any celebration or meal—with or devoid of seafood. We have Bill to thank for bringing “that pie” again to our summer tables.
Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie
This recipe is centered on Invoice Smith’s recipe for Atlantic Seashore Pie. I have adjusted the measurements and the baking pan but kept his ratios the similar. Bake the day ahead of you want to serve it and keep refrigerated until just ahead of serving.
FOR THE CRUST:
2 sleeves saltine (with salt) crackers, unopened
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1½-2 sticks unsalted butter, home temperature to incredibly gentle
FOR THE FILLING:
4 substantial egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lemon or lime juice, a mix of the two, or key lime juice
Pinch of kosher salt
Fresh whipped cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F
Applying a rolling pin, crush the crackers in their sleeves. Or making use of your hands, crush the crackers finely. (Cease before all the crackers change to dust you want to have some very little pieces—the larger dimensions parts insert a pleasant texture to the crust.
Add cracker crumbs to a bowl and include sugar stir to incorporate. Insert the softened butter and function via all the crumbs with your arms. I don a kitchen area glove and smush the butter and crackers collectively breaking up any items that I think are too big.
Work the butter in with your fingers right up until the crumbs hold collectively. If the crust is far too crumbly, incorporate the other ½ stick of softened butter. Press into and up the sides of an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch pie pan.
Freeze for 15-20 minutes, then bake for 16-18 minutes or until eventually the crust receives a little shade. The crust doesn’t require to be cold prior to filling it, I permit it cool for 10 minutes.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks into condensed milk, then whisk in the lemon or lime juice (or both equally), and salt, generating certain to mix them completely.
Pour into the shell, and bake for 16-18 minutes until finally the filling has set—I baked for 18 minutes and it was perfect.
Allow it bit by bit amazing to home temperature and refrigerate until fully chilly, 6 hrs or overnight. At this issue, it can also be frozen if you are not serving it right away.
Provide with a generous dollop of clean whipped cream.
*(Bill Smith retired immediately after 25 several years as the chef of Crook’s Corner and the cafe closed in June 2021—but stay tuned, it might re-open.)