Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Old Fashioned Lemon Ice Box Pie Trifle

 When May temperatures soar to 80-plus degrees, the soul cries out for a cold, creamy dessert. I remember hot, humid summers in my grandmother's Southern kitchen. I'd climb on a stool and watch her make lemon ice box pies. My heart sped up when she gave me the near-empty bowl. This was the best part: licking every drop of the sweet, tart goodness.

Mimi was on my mind when I deconstructed her ice box pie recipe and made a trifle. 

I started with a graham cracker/butter/sugar layer, then added cubed lemon loaf cake, followed by my favorite recipe for lemon ice box pie filling. Next came a poofy layer of whipped cream (or Extra Creamy whipped topping). I had just enough space for a second layer. Finally, I garnished the top with a lemon twist, zest and graham cracker crumbs. 

Really, you don't even need a recipe, do you?
But for those who have asked, the procedure is simple.

Old Fashioned Lemon Ice Box Pie Trifle
                                         Serves: 6
Printable Recipe

What You Need:
Trifle bowl (I found mine at HomeGoods)
3 cartons Extra Cream Cool Whip
1 lemon loaf cake (grocery/ bakery)
1 box graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled


Cube 1 lemon loaf cake. Aim for 1" cubes.
Set aside.

Make the crust:
1 box graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter, melted
1/4 cup white granulated sugar.
Mix melted butter into crumbs and sugar. Blend well. Set aside.

Make the filling:
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c lemon juice (add more if you like a tart filling)
Blend well.

In a trifle bowl, place a layer of graham cracker crust. Top with cubed cake. Pour filling over cubes. Add a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layers. Top with whipped cream/Cool Whip.
Garnish with lemon slices, zest, and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs. Chill several hours.

I like to make this dessert in the morning. While it's chilling, I work in the garden. Later, a huge bowl of trifle is my reward.

Notes: You may have leftover Cool Whip, but you can add dollops to each serving (or save the CW for another purpose). Sometimes I have used 3.5 oz of cream cheese, but I decided to skip it. Also, I normally use raw eggs in this pie, but a family member has been under the weather, so I crossed eggs off my list.

Lemon ice box trifle pairs beautifully with barbecued chicken, a tangy mayonnaise slaw, and buttery yeast rolls. But if you are hot and bothered, find a huge spoon and eat trifle for supper.


  1. Gosh that looks so good! Yes, we need your lemon icebox pie filling recipe.

  2. Oh, yum!! Lemon is perfect as the weather warms up. Beautiful photos and flowers too.

  3. I second Kim @ Savvy Southern Style! Don't tease us! :)

    1. I added it...but really, I should have added 1/2 cup of lemon juice. 1/4 c wasn't enough!

    2. 1/2 cup it is, then. Thank you, so much for sharing your recipe!

  4. What a yummy treat and gorgeous too! I've been thinking lemon desserts here this week too. Think I'll make a lemon meringue pie. Beautiful presentation, ML!

  5. Oh my stars this is so brilliant!

  6. Gorgeous, there is nothing better than a lemony dessert on a hot summer evening!

  7. Michael Lee, I make lemon ice box pies so often and your filling is just like mine, but I do use eggs. I will be trying this very soon. Beautiful presentation!

    1. My grandmother used up to 6 eggs, and they add so much to the filling. I always use eggs in my key lime pies, too, and just warn guests to skip it if they have immunity issues.

  8. The drool factor is off the charts on your luscious Lemon Ice Box Pie Trifle! Trifles are always a welcome dessert for a crowd here or for family and your photos are mouth-watering. ♥

  9. Wow, mouthwatering. And oh so gorgeous too.

  10. Oh my gosh, I remember that from when I was a child, I had forgotten all about it. My Aunt Nell always made lemon meringue pies and chocolate meringue and lemon ice box pies. MY Aunt Hilda always had buttermilk and brown sugar pies. Mother always made a n amazing spiced cake and have never found one just like it. So they all had their specialties, but I sure loved them all.

    Many thanks for the recipe.
    Have a terrific rest of the weekend. It's in the 90's here.


  11. I'm lemon and this looks YUMMY!