North Carolina Lemon Pie

I have always loved Key lime pie so, when I saw a recipe for North Carolina Lemon Pie on Ameria’s Test Kitchen, I had to make it.  Of course, I waited for my cheat day, so I could eat a piece of it guilt-free.  The simple recipe does take some time, but it is worth the wait.

North Carolina Lemon Pie


  • 53 saltines (6 ounces/1 1/2 sleeves)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup


  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I set the oven to 350-degrees.  I put the crackers and salt in the food processor and pulse 15 times.  When they were coarse crumbs, I poured in the melted butter and corn syrup, pulsing another 15 times until the mixture became coarse oatmeal sized pieces.  I turned the dough into a greased 9-inch pie plate and used a one-cup measuring cup to work the crackers evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.  I put the crust in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet and baked it for 19 minutes until it turned golden.

While the crust baked, I cleaned up and prepared the mise en place for the filling.  After I took the crust out of the oven, I whisked together the condensed milk, egg yolks, cream, lemon zest and salt until they were smooth.  Heavy cream can be challenging to find.  Harris Teeter is the only store in my area where I have found it.  If need be, you can use heavy whipping cream in place of the heavy cream.  I then added the lemon juice, whisking until it was well combined.

I poured the mixture into the pie crust (you do not need to let the crust cool down first), smoothed it out and baked it an additional 17 minutes.  When done, the inside should jiggle slightly while the outside edge is set.  I put the pie on the cooling rack to cool completely and then put it in the refrigerator for four hours.

When it was time to eat the pie, I whipped the cream, sugar and vanilla using the stand mixer, starting on medium-low for one minute and then turning it up to high for about three minutes.  I watched the consistency of the cream to make sure I didn’t over whip it.  When the cream was at stiff peaks, I spread it over the pie.

The filling is very sweet, so the saltiness from the cracker crust worked nicely. I don’t usually use sugar in the whipped cream when I make Key lime pie because of the sweetness. I think that would work for this pie as well. This delicious pie (even Chris ate the whole piece) was even better the next day. At 511 calories a slice, with 53 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 31 fat grams and 8 grams of protein, I will reserve this one as a special treat.


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