Lemon Ginger Snap Pie

Update: try this (not vegan) but successful recipe from my friend, Leah. http://www.sohowsittaste.com/2011/07/gingered-lemon-icebox-pie.html

In the beginning, it sounded like a simple thing. It was. Simply not right.

The inspiration was a box of ginger snaps that had a recipe for pie crust on the side. The instructions were to put 20 cookies in a blender (four at a time) to make crumbs, add I-can't-remember-how-many tablespoons of melted butter and some sugar and then press into a pie plate and chill. Voila, a ginger snap crumb crust. Sounded delicious.

So I thought about what kind of filling I'd like for my crust and settled on lemon. Naturally, I googled it and found this recipe. Wow, all stuff I had on hand. This will be the easiest and best pie ever!

First, I opted to skip the blender and stick all of those cookies in my bad-ass Cuisinart. I ended up with something akin to cookie dust instead of cookie crumbs. I figured that didn't matter too much, so I added the melted butter and sugar and pressed it into the pie plate. And set it in the fridge to chill. Afterward, I noticed that my brand new food processor has a dull ring in side the bowl from where the ginger snaps scratched it. Perfect. Moving on.

While the crust was chilling, I started cooking up my lemon pie filling. I subbed in ReaLemon for fresh lemon juice and added a couple of drops of lemon extract to make it extra lemony. I cooked and cooked and cooked some more until it started getting thick. A little longer than the recipe called for. Also, I apparently wasn't always hitting the bottom of the pan with my spoon, because I dragged up a couple of clumps here an there. No matter. I just stirred them out.

It seemed a bit runny to me, so I let it cool for a while before pouring it into the pie plate. After an hour or so, I poured it in and then set it back in the fridge.

I checked on it after about 2.5 hours and it was still not setting. The SO was eager for a piece of pie, so I put it in the freezer. That firmed it up a bit but made the crust impossible to cut and remove from the pie plate. Great. I finally scraped a piece out and took a tiny bite.

Yum. This lemon pie filling is delicious. And that ginger snap crust is the perfect complement.


The next day, it was time to have pie again. What I saw in the pie plate was not pretty. Some lemony liquid had separated from the rest of the filling and collected in the place of the missing wedge. Clear, yellow, lemony liquid. And despite being at fridge temperature, the crust was still nearly impossible to cut and scrape out of the plate--hard as the original cookie and firmly attached to the (glass) pie plate. So preparing a piece of this pie to eat is a frustrating and time-consuming ordeal. The taste is wonderful, but the look is nothing like the photo.

I'm still not sure what I did wrong. Could be that the cookie dust was just not the right consistency for crust. Maybe margarine--like Earth Balance--would have been a better binder. But the filling? Except the addition of a couple of drops of lemon extract, I followed the recipe exactly. Did I cook it too long? Not long enough? I don't know that I'll ever find out.

5 thoughts on “Lemon Ginger Snap Pie

  1. Diana

    I've been dealing in cornstarch puddings lately, and after the mishap with my butterscotch soup, I read up on cornstarch in my Joy of Cooking.

    I'd alter the method suggested in that recipe--bring the liquids (reserving a cup of the milk) and sugar to a boil, remove from heat, stir in slurry made from the cornstarch and the reserved milk, bring back to a simmer for 1 minute, remove from heat, stir in any extracts, then immediately pour into your pie crust.

    If that doesn't work, then you got me. The ratios seem appropriate.

  2. Catherine

    I've struggled with lemon curd type things in the past -- same runny, watery problem! I've blamed it on old cornstarch . . . would that "excuse" work for you??

  3. Lesley

    Diana--I looked that up and read the same thing on another site. That would probably have been a big help. But another site indicated that if you cook with cornstarch too long, it will degenerate. I think that was a contributor as well.

    Catherine--another good thought. That cornstarch is at least a year old and I've not stored it in an airtight container. Turns out that was a bad idea. I had a lot of things going against me on this one.

    Still no idea what went wrong on the pie crust except that maybe cookie dust doesn't behave like cookie crumbs.

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