Lemon Icebox Pie

This is my dad’s favorite recipe.  It was originally on the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk can.  They have since renamed it “Magic Lemon Pie” and have replaced the meringue with a whipped cream topping.  Key lime pie has whipped cream on it:  lemon icebox pie has a meringue.

I increased the egg whites to three from the recipe’s original two.  Likewise, I increased the four tablespoons of sugar for sweetening the meringue to six:  two tablespoons of sugar for each egg white is the rule of thumb with meringues.  A two-egg meringue is just not enough to have good coverage for a pie.

1 8-inch crumb or baked pie shell*
1 (14 ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)**
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites, at room temperature***
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar


In mixing bowl, combine Eagle Brand milk, lemon juice, lemon rind, and egg yolks; stir until mixture thickens. Pour into chilled crumb crust or cooled pastry shell.

Add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat until almost stiff enough to hold a peak. Add sugar gradually, beating until stiff and glossy but not dry. Pile lightly on pie filling.

Bake at 325°F until meringue is lightly browned. Cool.

*My mom always used a graham cracker crust. A vanilla wafer crust or a zweiback crust would be good too.

**I like Meadow Gold sweetened condensed milk too, when I can find it. It is made by the same company that makes Eagle Brand, but it is a little hard to find where I live.

***Separate the eggs when they are cold (it’s easier to do then), then allow the whites to come to room temperature before making the meringue.


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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16 Responses to Lemon Icebox Pie

  1. Mark says:

    Last year I made one, and the supermarket was all sold out of sweetened condensed milk. SO, I asked if they had more in the back, and the lady I spoke to directed me to the Mexican foods aisle and to La Lechera. http://www.mexgrocer.com/2565.html. I know they have it a most Wal-Marts. It was one of the best I have ever made.

  2. RevJATB says:

    I have seen that brand before but never tried it. Another one marketed to the Hispanic market is Magnolia brand (made by Eagle Brand). The Eagle Brand web site says Magnolia is very good in flan, but I like the flan we make (with Eagle Brand) just as it is.

    Apparently, the ones aimed at the Hispanic market are slightly sweeter than regular Eagle Brand. That would offset the tartness of the lemon juice and make for a smoother tasting pie. I’ll have to try it!

  3. vrouw_jonker says:

    I sure hope you’re planning to whip up a couple of these for Sunday Dinner!

  4. RevJATB says:

    If I had some Graham crackers on hand that a certain 10-year-old could have, I would have already made them. Gotta study on this.

    I also found out today that Nabisco no longer makes zweiback. And the Gerber zweiback is not good! (Zweiback makes the best crust for a New York cheesecake, IMO: much better than Graham crackers.)

  5. RevJATB says:

    And yes, I absolutely refuse to spell zweiback with the “i” before the “e,” no matter how Nabisco and Gerber may spell it on their packages. It is a German word: zwei (two) + back (bake). Thus: twice-baked (which it is).

  6. Chef says:

    America’s Test Kitchen swears by animal crackers for pie crusts, so perhaps that is an option for you guys. I have not tried it but it does make sense and would not add a cloying sweet crust that is typical of many crumb crusts.

  7. Cap'n Whook says:

    Condensed milk is that gooey stuff, right? Which is NOT what’s used in pumkin pie (as per the Libby recipe)? Or do I have all this backwards?

    The old folks used to swear by Pet evaporated milk ’round these parts, but my grandmother always said that it tasted like “calf slobber.”

  8. RevJATB says:

    You have it right, Cap’n. Sweetened Condensed Milk (a.k.a. “Eagle Brand” Milk for some people, even if they use another brand–you know, just like all adhesive bandages are Band-Aids and all tissues are Kleenexes, or should that be Kleeneces?) is the thick, sweet, gooey stuff. Evaporated milk (what my grandmother always called “Pet Milk,” again, regardless of the brand) is what goes in the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe, as well as the Mamie Eisenhower Fudge recipe.

    Sweetened Condensed Milk has magical properties. When mixed with egg yolks and lemon juice (as in the above recipe), it thickens without cooking! Spooky!

    I always buy Pet brand milk too. Haven’t sampled calf slobber so I can’t say if that’s a fair comparison or not.

  9. RevJATB says:

    @Chef – Thanks for the animal cracker suggestion. We’ll have to give that a try!

  10. Cap'n Whook says:

    Come to think of it, “calf slobber” was her derision of ice milk.

    She didn’t like canned biscuits, either.

  11. RevJATB says:

    “Ice Milk” is a term whose time is long gone, isn’t it? It occurs to me I haven’t seen “Ice Milk” printed on a container in a long, long time. All the marketers discovered that “Low-Fat Ice Cream” or “Fat Free Ice Cream” (an oxymoron, to be sure) would sell a lot better than “Ice Milk.”

    In the low fat ice cream department, I LOVE me some Edy’s Slow-Churned Light!

  12. RevJATB says:

    I prefer homemade biscuits to canned, of course, but canned biscuits are fine in monkey bread.

    McDonald’s now offers a “homemade-tasting” biscuit. Nice.

  13. Cap'n Whook says:

    There was a wave of “healthy” foods/eating in the early 70’s, I recall. Margarine instead of butter, fewer eggs, Mazola instead of lard, calf slobber (ice milk). Tang. (What happened to Tang, the “juice” of astronauts?)

    Now, all the hydrogenated stuff is known to be bad, egg/ lard/butter not so (within reason).

    Remember the Mazola ads with the Native Americans? “Ma-Zo-O-La, [*thump*, *thump*] Corn Good-Ness!!!”

  14. RevJATB says:

    I often wondered were those Native Americans ostracized by their own people once that commercial came out.

    Funny you should mention the hydrogenated thing. The SmockLady sent me an article just the other day about hydrogenated oils and lard. Bottom line: lard is better for you than hydrogenated oils. Only problem is, all the commercially available lard is hydrogenated lard!

    So we’ve actually started doing what my grandmother always did and save our bacon grease in a little jar next to the stove.

    And I’m with you on the butter too (within reason). Butter is saturated fat, to be sure, but at least it’s not trans-fat.

  15. wtb says:

    There is a recipe from an old Southern Living Magazine for making your own sweetened condensed milk using powdered milk, sugar, melted butter and I believe boiling water. You process it in a blender and cool it and it is a good substitute for sweetened condensed milk. If I find it in my recipe files, I post it. Otherwise, I am sure such a recipe could be found on the web.

  16. Jo Ellen says:

    Apologies for interrupting the thread, but does anyone out there remember the Kraft ad slogan: “Don’t say cheese. Say Kraft”?
    I’m desperately looking for a source for this distant memory, possibly the tv show Kraft sponsored in the 1950s or 1960s with Dan Hurlihey (I’ve probably misspelled his last name) as the announce.

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