Key lime and lemon meringue pie lovers—get ready to meet your new favorite summer dessert. Perfected by Chef Bill Smith at his iconic restaurant, Crook’s Corner in North Carolina, Atlantic beach pie is a twist on a North Carolina dessert staple. He took the lemon pies he remembered from his youth and swapped the meringue topping for a much easier whipped cream, and added a buttery cracker pie crust (a signature aspect of this dessert). Make this unique dessert mashup for Father’s Day or any summer potluck to win over any lemon-lime lovers after just one bite. Here’s what you need to know:

All about the cracker crust.

What makes this cool, creamy dessert truly unique is the cracker pie crust. Crackers are crushed in a food processor and combined with butter and sugar (we went for light brown!), similar to a graham cracker or cookie pie crust. Cracker crust is by no means complicated, but there is a right way to do it. Here’s our top tips:

Get the right crumb size. The smaller you blitz the crumbs, the easier it will be to evenly press the crust into the pie pan. But don’t go so far that the crumbs turn into dust.

Fixing a sliding crust. If you find that your pie crust starts to slide down the sides of the pan, allow it to finish baking and press it back into shape with a glass or a measuring cup while it’s still warm. As the crust cools, it will hold the proper shape.

How to make the custard:

Like Key lime and lemon meringue pies, Atlantic beach pie is a baked custard pie. Custard pies are made from a base of egg yolks, milk, sugar, and some sort of flavoring. Egg yolks make the custard super smooth and creamy, but too much can make your custard taste a bit eggy and heavy. The key? Add two whole eggs. This will help you get that perfect texture without a ton of eggy flavor.

Serving Atlantic Beach Pie.

This pie is best served cold, topped with homemade whipped cream and finely grated lemon and lime zest (plus a sprinkle of salt for good measure). Because of the chill time, this pie is an ideal make-ahead dessert. Make it up to four days ahead, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge until ready to serve.


Keep any leftover slices in the pie plate, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Made this summer pie? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Yields: 12 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Total Time: 4 hours


Cracker Crust
  • 2 1/2

    sleeves butter crackers (about 75 crackers/250 g.)

  • 1/2 c.

    butter, softened

  • 1/4 c.

    packed light brown sugar

Lemon-Lime Custard Filling
  • 4

    large egg yolks

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1

    (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/3 c.

    fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)

  • 1/3 c.

    fresh lime juice (from 3 to 4 large limes)

Whipped Cream Topping And Assembly
  • 1 c.

    heavy cream

  • 3 tbsp.

    light brown sugar

  • 1 tsp.

    finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tsp.

    finely grated lime zest

  • Flaky sea salt


Cracker Crust
  1. In a food processor, pulse crackers until finely ground with a few pea-size pieces remaining, 25 to 30 pulses. Add butter and brown sugar and continue to pulse until butter is incorporated and a crumbly dough starts to form, about 15 pulses.
  2. Transfer cracker mixture to a 9" glass pie pan. Press into an even layer in bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake crust until deep golden brown and smells nutty and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Lemon-Lime Custard Filling
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, eggs, and milk until combined. Add lemon juice and lime juice and whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour custard into pie shell. Continue to bake until center of pie is set but still slightly jiggly, about 18 minutes.
  3. Transfer pie plate to a wire rack and let cool 1 hour. Place in refrigerator and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
Whipped Cream Topping And Assembly
  1. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or a whisk, in a medium bowl, beat cream and brown sugar until stiff peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a piping bag or spatula, top cooled pie with whipped cream.
  2. Sprinkle with lemon zest and lime zest and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Make Ahead: Pie can be made 4 days ahead. Cover pie plate with plastic and chill.

Related Video: Key Lime Pie

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