Food & Drink

Salty Dog Icebox Pie

Toast a friend with a
cocktail-inspired treat

Photo: Johnny autry | Food Styling by Charlotte Autry

Last Thanksgiving, chef Ashley Christensen; her wife, Kaitlyn Goalen; and several of Raleigh’s most talented and charitable chefs served a beautiful restaurant-level meal for 250 people at Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen. “It was really special—one of my favorite moments of the year,” says Christensen, the owner of Poole’s Diner and several more restaurants in Raleigh and coauthor with Goalen of the new cookbook It’s Always Freezer Season. “Food has always been, to me, a way to connect and make folks feel considered.” The book is all about helping home cooks make the most of one of the best tools in the kitchen, the freezer, and it’s full of dishes that you can stash away for when you need them, like this Salty Dog Icebox Pie, one of Christensen’s favorites for sharing. “If I bring you a strawberry pie, which I love, you probably need to eat it pretty quickly,” she says. “This pie has a longer life without compromise because of how the curd sets.” There’s no compromising on the flavors, either. Inspired by a Salty Dog cocktail (vodka or gin and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice served in a glass with a salted rim), it’s made with a grapefruit curd filling that’s perfectly balanced by a saltine crust. As Christensen says, “It’s kind of like having a drink and dessert with a neighbor.”


  • For the crust

    • 1 sleeve saltines (about 4 oz. or 40 crackers)

    • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

    • 3 tbsp. sugar

  • For the filling

    • 1½ cups fresh grapefruit juice, strained

    • 2 large eggs

    • 4 large egg yolks

    • ¾ cup sugar

    • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 cubes


  1. For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Using your hands or a food processor, crush crackers into fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add butter and sugar, and mix with a rubber spatula until the crumbs stick together when you press some between your fingers. Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, and use your hands to press it onto the bottom and up the sides in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  2. For the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring grapefruit juice to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until reduced by half. Let cool to room temperature. In another medium saucepan, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until blended. Whisk in the reduced grapefruit juice and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. It should be the consistency of a melted smoothie. Turn off the heat and add butter a cube at a time, stirring after each addition until fully incorporated before adding the next piece. The curd should be thick enough to coat a spoon; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the curd to the pie shell and spread into an even layer.

  3. To freeze: Place a fresh piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling, and freeze the pie for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Remove plastic, wrap the entire pie with 2 layers of plastic wrap, label and date, and freeze for up to 2 weeks. To serve, unwrap, cut into slices, and serve frozen.

Recipe by: Ashley Christensen
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Drop-off Tip: Deliver the pie frozen and wrapped in plastic, with a side of unsweetened whipped cream. “The pie itself is so seasoned and tangy and bright that simple fresh whipped cream just wraps around it like a hug.”