Atlantic Beach Pie

What a summer!  The summer of dreams, one of my sweet friends named it.  Indeed.  I had a full teacher summer break, which hasn’t happened since going into district administration eight years ago.  With that, I jumped on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel for the better part of six of weeks.  Spending time with loved ones, discovering new countries, and being gone for an extended period gave me a precious and life-changing chance to disconnect from my day-to-day, heal from some difficult changes the last year had brought me, think deeply about what I want, and immerse myself in joy, laughter, adventure, and the love and support of some truly incredible people.

In my travels, I had the incredible fortune of spending a whole lot of time near the water.  I saw the canals of Amsterdam, the most stunning German lake, the Strait of Messina, where the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas meet, the North Sea, and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.  I drank my coffee while watching surfers catch the day’s first waves and I fell asleep soothed by the ocean.

The Atlantic leg of my travels was my annual trip to Kiawah Island with friends.  While there, some of watched an episode of Crime Scene Kitchen with the kids.  What a fun concept!  One of the teams made an Atlantic Beach Pie, which none of us had heard of.  As soon as I saw the buttery, salty Saltine cracker crust and the lemon-lime custard, I knew I’d be making it.  Oh my am I glad I did!

It was easy beyond easy to make.  Honestly, it might be among the simplest pies I’ve ever made.  The lemon-lime custard gives lighter key lime pie vibes, the Saltine crust is brings the salty sweet combo we all love, and the sweetened whipped cream balances everything out.  The only thing I didn’t love about this pie was not having more of it!

a white ruffled pie plate with Atlantic Beach Pie, a lemon lime custard pie in a Saltine cracker crust and topped with sweetened whipped cream

Saltine crackers, lemon-lime custard, and a mound of fluffy whipped cream give this Atlantic Beach Pie the most perfect balance of salty, sweet, smooth and completely irresistible!


Atlantic Beach Pie

adapted from Southern Living



1 ½ c. finely crushed saltine crackers (from 1 sleeve, about 40 crackers)

6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted 

3 TBSP granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. Kosher salt

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

zest of 1 lime

zest of 1 lemon

¼ c. fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)

¼ c. fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream

¼ c. powdered sugar

lemon and lime wheels, for garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  To make the crust, stir together crushed crackers, melted butter, sugar, salt, and egg white in a medium bowl until combined.  Transfer mixture to a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate; firmly press on bottom and sides. Freeze 10 minutes.
  2. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool slightly, about 10 minutes.  Leave oven at the same temperature for the pie.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, and lemon and lime zest until smooth. Whisk in lime juice and lemon juice until combined. Pour lime mixture into warm crust.
  4. Bake until center is just set, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  5. Beat cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Spread whipped cream topping over chilled pie, leaving about a ½-inch border of custard showing around crust. Garnish with lemon and lime wheels, if desired.
  6. Pie can be stored, covered, without whipped cream topping, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.  Whipped cream will keep on top of pie overnight.

yield: 8 servings

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