When I was a child, my mother used to make lemon icebox pie on special occasions, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or my birthday. The pie had a great sweet, tangy taste, and would have been a great addition to practically any meal, but Mom always acted as if it was a huge bother to cook, so we seldom requested it.

At some point, lemon icebox pie became my "favorite pie." (I'm not really sure if that's based on the merits of the dessert alone or if the "rare treat" factor had a play in the matter, but I suspect it was a little of both.) Eventually I grew up and moved out of the house and there were times when I missed my favorite comfort food. Also, being the lemon icebox pie evangelist that I was, I wanted others to experience its divine tastiness. So I procured the recipe and was startled to find out the following:

Lemon icebox pie requires no baking, no cooking of any sort--and all the ingredients can be combined in less than 5 minutes flat.

That's right, dear reader, it was all a ruse. For the better part of my life, my mom had me (and the rest of my family, for that matter) thinking that lemon icebox pie required hours of self-preparation, days of ingredient-gathering, months praying to the appropriate gods, and even more time for a whole host of other things to fall into place in order to slap one of these puppies together, but in reality, it's probably the easiest dessert (next to instant pudding) that one can make. (Mom enjoyed having us think one thing while another was true...she was kind of manipulative that way, but that's another story.)

Having exposed my mother's secret recipe to dozens of people already, it seems only appropriate share it with my E2 family, as well. (Especially since I'm posting this writeup just days before Christmas and New Years, and there are probably more than a few of you who could benefit from a recipe for a quick-and-easy dish to bring to this year's family get-together.)

And so, without further ado, please allow me to reveal my mother's secret (in a manner of speaking).

Behold, ye ingredients:

1 can of sweetened, condensed milk (aka Eagle brand)1
2 egg yolks2
½ cup lemon juice
¼ tsp lemon extract3
1 graham cracker crust

And now, the directions (if Mom was dead, she'd be rolling in her grave right now):

STEP ONE: Combine the milk, egg yolks, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Mix well.
STEP TWO: Pour the contents of the bowl into the graham cracker crust.
STEP THREE: Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until the filling is nice and firm.

Yep, folks, that's it. It's just that easy. (And before you send me dirty /msgs about how I should have known it was that simple of a recipe, gimme a break, I was a frickin kid, for God's sake!)

The pie will last last several days so long as you keep it covered and refrigerated and you occasionally sing Loverboy songs to it ever-so-gently (as is the case with most pies). The preparation and creation of this dish takes a total of about 10 minutes, including the time it takes to wash all the dishes when you're through.


  1. Condensed milk comes in 14oz and 13.5oz cans. Either size will do. There's also a node on how to create your own condensed milk, should you be of the adventurous type.
  2. Egg yolk specialists suggest using brown eggs for this type of dessert, because they're believed to be richer. (That's just FYI, as it seems to work fine with either type.)
  3. If you prefer a concoction that's a bit more tart, you can increase the amount of lemon extract to taste. But be careful; if you make the mixture too soupy, it won't firm up correctly.

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