Invoice Smith is a North Carolina culinary treasure. If his Criminal’s Nook predecessor, Invoice Neal’s legacy was shrimp and grits, Invoice Smith’s* legacy is Atlantic Seashore Pie.

As a result of he has popularized this straightforward regional pie, it’s now not only a recipe written on a pale index card or in an previous group cookbook. It has turn out to be such a “factor” that Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream created an Atlantic Seashore Pie taste a number of years in the past.

One in every of my favourite recollections of Invoice Smith was visiting him at his restaurant, Criminal’s Nook, on a day that the restaurant was closed. However that’s to not say that there was no exercise within the kitchen. The restaurant was closed however Invoice himself was making dozens of Atlantic Seashore Pies for a particular occasion that he was internet hosting. As we spoke he took sheet trays stuffed with 9-inch pies out and in of the oven gracefully like he was dancing. He has made these pies so many instances that he didn’t miss a beat, persevering with our dialog as if we had been sitting subsequent to one another chatting at leisure.

Like Invoice, I additionally grew up with this thick and creamy tart and candy lemon pie. I keep in mind it principally from the fish joints in Morehead Metropolis which is throughout the bridge from Atlantic Seashore, North Carolina. It was additionally one of many simple and foolproof Lady Scout recipes that our troop baked with ready-made mini graham-cracker pie shells.

In researching this recipe, I discovered that the filling was virtually all the time the identical, lemon juice, lime and lemon juice, or typically key lime juice; sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Often, lemon zest and a pinch of salt had been added however it’s primarily three elements. The pie was usually served naked on the plate the place you possibly can see the jiggle of the filling, or typically a meringue— produced from the leftover egg whites—topped it.

So far as I can recall, the pie was principally made with a pre-made graham cracker crust which was good however not nice. After I learn the recipes in group cookbooks, I found that vanilla wafers and Ritz crackers had been additionally used to make the crust.

Most frequently, the pie was listed merely as Lemon Pie. You may also discover the recipe entitled Lemon Icebox Pie, Down East Lemon Pie, and even Lemon-Milk Pie however everybody knew that it was the chilly, creamy sweetened condensed milk-lemon pie.

Invoice Smith re-named the pie Atlantic Seashore Pie in honor of the fish homes and the custom of consuming this tart lemon pie after a seafood dinner. He says that his mom taught him that another dessert after seafood would render one unwell. Whether or not that’s true or not, it’s true in North Carolina {that a} lemon dessert was the popular “alternative” after a menu of seafood.

Invoice doesn’t declare to have created the pie, however he definitely popularized it. I personally assume he improved it. The genius of Invoice Smith’s Atlantic Seashore Pie is the buttery saltine crust and the actual whipped cream on prime. The right chunk is a little bit of the crunchy barely candy and salty crackers full of the milky candy tart jiggly pie and comfortable pillowy whipped cream. It truly is OMG good and that’s the actual motive that it has turn out to be a factor!

There are embellished recipes on the market that use egg white or corn syrup to bind the crust, however you don’t want so as to add them. If you want, you’ll be able to add a little bit extra butter so the crumbs bake solidly.

I’ve tailored Invoice’s recipe to make use of a disposable 8-inch sq. pan with lid in order that the dessert is straightforward to move and you may get 12 squares out of the “pie.” I like my whipped cream plain with no sugar so it balances out the candy of the condensed milk however should you like issues on the sweeter facet, add a little bit of sugar to the cream.

Nevertheless you serve it, it’s a terrific dessert to carry to any occasion or meal—with or with out seafood. Now we have Invoice to thank for bringing “that pie” again to our summer time tables.

Invoice Smith’s Atlantic Seashore Pie

This recipe is predicated on Invoice Smith’s recipe for Atlantic Seashore Pie. I’ve modified the measurements and the baking pan however stored his ratios the identical. Bake the day earlier than you wish to serve it and preserve refrigerated till simply earlier than serving.


2 sleeves saltine (with salt) crackers, unopened

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1½-2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature to very comfortable


4 massive egg yolks

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup lemon or lime juice, a mixture of the 2, or key lime juice

Pinch of kosher salt

Contemporary whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F

Utilizing a rolling pin, crush the crackers of their sleeves. Or utilizing your arms, crush the crackers finely. (Cease earlier than all of the crackers flip to mud; you wish to have some little items—the larger dimension items add a pleasant texture to the crust.

Add cracker crumbs to a bowl and add sugar; stir to mix. Add the softened butter and work by all of the crumbs together with your arms. I put on a kitchen glove and smush the butter and crackers collectively breaking apart any items that I believe are too huge.

Work the butter in together with your arms till the crumbs maintain collectively. If the crust is just too crumbly, add the opposite ½ stick of softened butter. Press into and up the edges of an 8-inch sq. pan or a 9-inch pie pan.

Freeze for 15-20 minutes, then bake for 16-18 minutes or till the crust will get a little bit colour. The crust doesn’t should be chilly earlier than filling it, I let it cool for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks into condensed milk, then whisk within the lemon or lime juice (or each), and salt, ensuring to mix them fully.

Pour into the shell, and bake for 16-18 minutes till the filling has set—I baked for 18 minutes and it was excellent.

Let it slowly cool to room temperature and refrigerate till fully chilly, 6 hours or in a single day. At this level, it will also be frozen should you aren’t serving it instantly.

Serve with a beneficiant dollop of contemporary whipped cream.

*(Invoice Smith retired after 25 years because the chef of Criminal’s Nook and the restaurant closed in June 2021—however keep tuned, it could re-open.)

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