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Nation Pie Day Lemon Pie With Animal Cracker Crust

This is just a lemon pie.

A delicious, easy to make, creamy, lemon pie.

It doesn’t use gelatin, like a typical meringue pie does. I stopped using gelatin altogether because it’s made form animal byproducts, so it isn’t kosher or vegetarian, excluding quite a few of my friends from enjoying my dessert.

It’s also made with a cracker crust, made with animal crackers instead of graham crackers, which pair nicely with lemon and give your a firm reminder of your youth. It’s like a Nostalgia Crust.

I love a really good graham cracker crust, and I’ve learned a few tips over the years that I’m going to share with you.

Wether you use animal crackers, graham crackers, shortbread cookies or my favorite: Girl Scout Trefoils, these are tips that will put your crust well above the rest. 

Tips for the Best Cracker Crust:

1. Add 2 tbs brown sugar to the food processor when you crush the crackers. This will give your crust a nice caramel flavor, as well as help it stay together. 

2. Assemble the sides first, then the bottom. This will help you to give the sides a professional look as well help your crust to be even. 

3. Press the crap out the crust. Really, really smash it into place. Use a coffee mug, a bowl, a glass measuring cup, to press it very firmly into place. This is the secrete to having crust that stays beautifully in place when you remove the slices from the pan. 

4. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg white, 1 tbs water, beaten) before baking. This only works if you are going to bake the crust and then fill it, but it will keep the crust from getting soggy when it sits. 

There you have it. The tips to make a perfect graham cracker crust. 

Deep Dish Lemon Pie with Animal Cracker Crust

Animal Cracker Crust:

4 cups animal crackers

2 tbs brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick of butter, melted

Lemon Curd:

3 tbs lemon zest (I use this super quick zester)

7 egg yolks (reserve one white for an egg wash)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

1 tbs corn starch

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a food processor, add the animal crackers, salt and brown sugar. Process until only crumbs remain. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined and it resembles wet sand. Dump into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan.

If you don’t have a deep dish pan, you wont need this entire amount. You can remove about 1/2 cup, spray the insides of a muffin tin make 2-3 small "mini pies" (remove from muffin tins before filling).

Starting with the sides, assemble to crust. Press very firmly into place. 

Put 1 egg white (use the yolk for the curd) plus 1 tbs of water in a small bowl and beat until well combined. Brush the insides of the crust with the egg wash. 

Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. 

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, corn starch and yolks to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the lemon mixture to a pan over medium/low heat along with the butter. Whisk until thickened, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. 

Add the curd to the crust and chill until set, about 4 hours.

Put all the whipped cream ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy and holds peaks, about 4 minutes. 

Top the pie with the whipped cream and serve. Chill until ready to serve.