Atlantic Beach Pie

atlantic beach pie 1_small

I read about this pie on the Southern Living blog and was intrigued by two things — the name and the crust. The name is a nod to the recipe’s origins, a quaint beach town in North Carolina. Versions of the pie date back to the 1950s, but it has experienced a revival of late when a North Carolina chef put it on his menu in 2011. As the expression goes, the crowd went wild and NPR even picked up on the craze and did a segment about the pie in 2012.

Atlantic Beach pie has since received accolades from some of the world’s top tastemakers, touted as “the real deal” and “the best dish of summer”.

An arbitrary cousin of key lime and lemon meringue pie, when I noticed this one had a crust made from saltine crackers I immediately thought to sub it with the traditional graham cracker crust. But somehow all the hype got to me and I decided to try it as written first.

I’m so glad I did. I loved it. But nobody else did. So I made another one with a typical graham cracker crust and the family DEVOURED it. When you do this, it essentially becomes a Key Lime Pie, except I used lemons and limes. So think of it like that.

Tart, sweet, salty and tangy — every bite of this pie is heaven, no matter which crust you choose. It would make a perfect masterpiece for your Labor Day barbecue this weekend and comes together relatively quickly.

Remember to use fresh lemon or lime juice in the filling and sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt. If you want to do a graham cracker crust, use 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup white sugar, 6 tablespoons melted butter.

Atlantic Beach Pie

Atlantic Beach Pie


For the crust:

1 1/2 sleeves of Saltine crackers

1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup lemon or lime juice, or a mix of the two

Fresh whipped cream

Coarse sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a food processor or using your hands, crush the crackers finely. Add sugar, and knead in butter until the crumbs hold together like dough.

2. Press cracker mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. (Or use an old-fashioned 8-inch tin pie pan.) Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until crust turns golden. While the crust cools (it doesn’t have to cool completely), beat the egg yolks into the condensed milk. Add the citrus juice, and beat until well combined. Pour filling into shell, and bake for 16 minutes or until filling is set.

3. Refrigerate pie until cold. Dollop with whipped cream and sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

Recipe from Southern Living.

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