Hello and welcome! We are satisfying our sweet tooth today with an Atlantic Beach Pie. I found this recipe on Food52, and after seeing a similar pie called a North Carolina Lemon Pie, I thought I’d give it a go. The main differences between the two versions, as far as I can tell is the Atlantic Beach Pie allows for a mix of lemon and lime juice and finishes with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. These twists are thanks to Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill. I took another liberty with this recipe and crushed the crackers coarse, so the crust would have a more craggy texture. This made for a very crumbly crust, but I really like the bigger shards of salty Saltines. Let’s get to it!
Saltine Cracker Crust
The hallmark of this pie is the Saltine cracker crust. It gives what would be a typical Lemon, or Key Lime Pie, a salty/sweet/sour flavor that is just phenomenal. The salty/sweet crust keeps the pie from being cloyingly sweet and the saltiness also heightens the lemon and lime flavors. If this sounds weird to you, stick with me because it really is a beautifully flavored, well-balanced pie. Let’s preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
As I mentioned at the top, I went less-finely crushed than I think most Atlantic Beach Pie recipes advise, If you want a crust that will hold together a bit better, crush the Saltines to a sandier consistency – but not to a powder, you do still want a bit of cragginess to the crust. You can use a food processor, and pulse until the Saltines are more finely ground. Then, add a couple tablespoons of sugar, toss to combine. Then knead in a stick of softened, unsalted butter. If you want the crust to really stay together, try adding 2-4 more tablespoons of unsalted butter; or 1/4 cup corn syrup to the cracker mixture before you press it into the pie dish.
Press the crust into an 8-inch pie dish (9″ will work too). Really pack and press it in; use a flat bottom measuring cup to help evenly flatten and pack the cracker crust into the bottom and sides of the pie dish. If you go for less-than-finely crushed Saltines, I recommend making the bottom crust thicker than the sides. I went for even distribution, and you’ll see at the end, my bottom crust could have been way thicker. After forming the crust into the dish, refrigerate the crust for about 15 minutes. Then, pop the crust into the oven for 18 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden brown.
Lemon Lime Filling
The pie crust doesn’t have to be completely cooled before we add the filling, so you can make the filling while the crust is baking. Juice any combination of lemons and limes you like, to get 1/2 cup of citrus juice. I used one lemon and two and a half juicy limes. Separate your eggs to get four egg yolks. Then we have one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. And that’s it – super simple!
Mix the eggs and sweetened condensed milk together well, to fully incorporate the eggs. Then add the lemon/lime juice and again stir this together very well, to get a completely smooth, homogeneous mixture.
Pour the filling in the baked pie crust and bake for 16 minutes, until the filling is set. This means with a slight jiggle in the middle but not liquid-y.
You can see how yellow the filling has become after baking. So bright and sunny! Let this pie cool completely before topping with whipped cream and slicing. It will continue to set as it cools – crucial business for a custard pie.
Whip up some cream, give it a little confectioner’s sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, to taste and then generously top the Atlantic Beach pie with waves of whipped cream. Add as much or as little whipped cream as you like!
Top with some lime or lemon zest, and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
Now for the reason I recommend making the bottom crust thicker than the sides if you go with a coarse crush on your Saltines: almost total crumble of my side-crust when cut and plated. Did this stop it from becoming my new favorite pie of all time, forever and forever? No, it did not.
The bottom crust held together beautifully and achieved a crunchy, chewiness that kinda blew my mind. And the crumbly side-crust, was a nice crunchy contrast to the chewy bottom and the velvety smooth filling and whipped cream. I have made lemon custard pies many times, but I had never done a custard pie with sweetened condensed milk, and I have to say this way is so much easier and the results are just as luscious and creamy.
If you aren’t a fan of lemon or lime pie, this probably isn’t for you – but if you are like me and you love lemon and lime flavors, definitely give this Atlantic Beach Pie a try! The salty/sour/sweet flavors and the crunchy/chewy/creamy/velvety textures are everything! If you want to try another wonderful citrus dessert, try Campari Olive Oil Cake – it’s divine! Pin this recipe on Pinterest to make later this summer for a family cookout! Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly
Atlantic Beach Pie
If you love lemon desserts, you must give this a try. Salty/sour/sweet flavors and the crunchy/chewy/creamy/velvety textures are everything!
- Saltine Crust
- 1.5 Sleeves of Saltine Crackers (about 6 ounces or 60 crackers)
- 1/2 cup Softened Unsalted Butter
- 3 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
- 1 14-oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cup Lemon or Lime Juice, or a mix of the two
- Fresh whipped cream, for garnish
- Lime or Lemon Zest, for garnish
- Flaky Sea Salt, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands.
Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough.
Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is light golden brown.
While the crust is cooling (it doesn't need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice.
Completely combine these ingredients into a smooth homogeneous mixture.
Pour into the Saltine crust and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set.
Completely cool pie before slicing.
Serve with fresh whipped cream, zest and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.