I can recall sitting with her many afternoons and asking how she made some of my favorites. She would say things like, "then add a little cream until it looks right" or "bake it in a hot oven until it's done." You know, important details.
It's simple, her approach to cooking was based more on feeling than it was on academics. Old school. She made ice box pies like this one in every flavor. I can't make one without thinking of her and how she continues to inspire me even though she is no longer here with us. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for those afternoon chats and the precious time I spent with her. It's true, the best things in life are free.
Ingredients you'll need:
2 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2  oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1  oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cup sweetened fresh whipped cream or whipped topping
lemon slices and mint for garnishing
few drops yellow food coloring [optional]
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spritz a 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. Toss together the vanilla wafer crumbs, granulated sugar and melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom and sides of he pie dish. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and set. Cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest whipping until fully combined and smooth. The color of the filling is more ivory than pure yellow. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired. Pour into the cooled crust and spread evenly.
Chill thoroughly at least 6 hours prior to cutting and serving. Garnish with fresh cream or whipped topping and lemon slices. Yield: 8 pieces