I love lemons… They are fresh, bright, and make everything taste that much better. You can add lemon juice to any dish to brighten the flavor, add it to drinks for a fresh flavor, or turn it into a luscious dessert. However you prefer to use a lemon, you will not be disappointed.
My love for lemons is why I created this easy-to-put-together dessert. It is simple, with few ingredients, and all you do is pop it in the fridge to set then you are good to go with a delicious dessert. You can also make this a day ahead and just cut and serve.
Let me share with you how to make this dessert. Let’s go.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter- melted
8 oz cream cheese – room temp
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
- In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Mix well. Press the mixture into an 8-9 inch pie pan. You can use a cup to help press it into the pan if you need to. Place in the fridge to set. This should take about 15 to 25 minutes.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, add the cream cheese and blend until the cream cheese is smooth. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and blend until thick and smooth. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Blend until smooth and well incorporated. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and set to the side.
- In a clean, separate bowl, add the heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Do not over mix or your cream will begin to separate. Test the cream by removing the beaters or whisk (while the machine is off), and if the cream holds its shape when the beater is turned upside down and does not fall back onto itself, you are good to go.
- Add some of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and stir together. I would do about a 1/2 cup of whipped cream. This will help loosen the cream cheese mixture slightly. Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture. It will take a minute or two. Make sure there are no clumps of cream cheese mixture and everything is well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the pre-made pie crust and gently level off the top.
- Place the pie (covered with plastic wrap) into the fridge and let chill for 3 to 5 hours or until the center is set.
- Remove plastic wrap and decorate as desired. Slice and serve.
- I like to reserve a bit of lemon zest for the top of the pie. I sprinkle it on before chilling in the fridge. It just lets people know what is in the pie. You can also add a few thinly sliced lemon rings to the top as well.
- I prefer to let my pie chill for at least 5 hours before serving just to make sure the center is set. You can also chill overnight and serve the next day for dessert.
- If you do not like lemons… try lime, key limes, or oranges. They are all delicious. You can also do all three(lemons, limes, and orange) for a citrus flavor.
- Sometimes I like to swirl a little bit of lemon curd through the mixture. Dollop a few tablespoons on the top of the pie, before chilling, and use a butter knife to swirl the curd through the mixture. Cover and chill. The curd will not harden up but will be chilled enough to hold its shape in the pie. It is so good and it adds a more pop of lemon flavor to the pie.
- You can also prebake the pie crust for 10 minutes in the oven at 350* and then let cool completely before adding the filling.