Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie

The Chapel Hill chef shares the recipe for a dessert inspired by childhood outings on the Eastern North Carolina Coast

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Joe Spring

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This is a newer version of a pie that is commonly served at seafood restaurants on the North Carolina coast. I’ve been serving this at Crook’s Corner and at special events for about a year. It’s the easiest recipe in the world.

1 1/2 sleeves
saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice, lime juice, or a mix of the two
fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor, but if I’m just making a pie or two I use my hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an eight-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes—or until the crust colors a little. While the crust is cooling, beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

MAKES: 1 pie

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