As I have grown older, I have fully realized my affinity for citrus desserts. Lemon cheesecake bars? Yes, please. Key lime cupcakes? I’ll take two… at least.
But the one that has risen to the top of the pile this year is Atlantic Beach Pie, which was created in homage to my own county, and yet it still took me nearly 10 years to make it, much less try it. What was I waiting for?
Atlantic Beach Pie is a simple dessert to make, with the hardest part being the wait for for it to set in the fridge. It is cool, creamy and full of citrus flavor, thanks to the lemon-lime juice and zest, and the perfect amount of saltiness, due to a base made with Saltines or Ritz crackers. Some recipes call for a meringue topping, but I’m particularly fond of making it with homemade whipped cream.
In Atlantic Beach, and the rest of the beautiful Crystal Coast where I am now lucky enough to live, seafood is abundant. We have visitors come from all over the world to enjoy our family-friendly beaches, laid back lifestyle, and the many restaurants that serve delicious local seafood. Most places by my office on the Morehead City waterfront (just across the Intracoastal Waterway from the namesake Atlantic Beach) are able to tell you exactly where the local catch of the day was caught, as the fishermen congregate off the back deck in their boats to bring it in fresh. This dessert is the perfect complement to a dinner where you enjoyed fish, crabs, or shrimp with loved ones, especially if you get to enjoy it on the deck with water swishing underneath you and seagulls float nearby in hopes you’ll reward them with a bite.
This pie has been covered and slightly adapted by a number of notable names around the baking world: NYT Cooking has featured it, as well as a segment on NPR, not to mention Food52 and Food Network, among others. I follow a number of food bloggers and always smile when a variation of this dessert is highlighted.
Since I enjoy looking into the history of recipes, I personally turn to this article by Our State magazine, which highlights the many reasons North Carolina is such a great place to be. You’ll find the recipe, a beautiful video and the history behind this delectable vintage recipe.
For anyone who is missing their beach vacation this year due to coronavirius concerns, this pie will immediately transport you to the feeling you just spent the day lounging in the sand and sun. Ice cream cones aside, this dessert screams “summer” and “beach” to me more than anything else.
While we now share a married last name, Bill Smith, the man credited with reviving the popularity of Atlantic Beach Pie, and I are not related… I can only imagine how many of these pies he would have to bring if he was a part of our annual family reunion, though.
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Your snickerdoodles are amazing!!! So delicious and pillowy 🙂
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Anna!!! So happy to come across this blog! Looking forward to trying out one of your amazing treats. I hope…