I have never met a dessert I didn’t like—ten-layer caramel cakes, crunchy crème brulees, flaming bananas foster; you name it. But it’s the simpler sweets—my grandmother’s buttery teacakes, my great-aunt’s bourbon-spiked pound cake, and pastry chef (no relation) David Guas’s, of Bayou Bakery in Virginia, lemon icebox pie—that have become full-blown sugar-fueled obsessions.
A New Orleans native, Guas’s version of the cool classic pays tribute to the lemon icebox pie served at Clancy’s, a white-tablecloth neighborhood establishment and local favorite, on the corner of Annunciation Street. “Clancy’s has been around forever,” Guas says. “It just fits. If it wasn’t there, there would be a hole in the ground.” Essentially a key lime pie made with lemons, the nostalgic confection is what Guas calls a “psychological summer dessert,” where the refreshing citrus flavor gives the impression of a lighter finish. His straightforward recipe is simple and easy to prepare. Plus, kept frozen, it will keep for up to a week—just don’t expect it to last long once your guests have tasted a slice.
Notes from the chef: If you’re tempted to skimp on the fresh-squeezed juice and use store bought instead, don’t. Freshness counts big with the flavor of this pie. Also, try adding cracked pepper to the graham cracker crust for a surprising punch of heat.