It’s so easy, you’ll know it by heart after one pie

If there is one thing that I look forward to every winter, it is citrus season. Grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines get a bit sweeter and juicier, while exotics like Sumos, yuzu, and pink lemons pop up in stores like surprises. Citrus is the key to brightening up the winter doldrums, adding some vitamin C to your immune system, and generally bringing joy wherever they go. From peppy salad dressings with the juices to adding the zest to everything from shortbread and stew to cocktails and hot drinks, citrus goes just about everywhere.

But there may be no higher purpose than making a citrus based pie. If you love a Key lime pie or a lemon meringue but have some ambitions that might go a bit beyond the norm during this time of citrus abundance, then have I got a trick for you. Meet this simple ratio-based pie that is super fast to make and has some serious wow factor.

The easiest citrus pie you'll ever make

This pie works with any citrus fruit juice; Key lime and lemon are classic to be sure, but don't be afraid to experiment with tangerine, yuzu, grapefruit, or any other citrus juice or combo you like! There is no end to the variations you can make.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Credit: Getty / Jennifer A Smith

Pick your crust

Even the crust here is easy: your choice! You can use a flaky pastry crust, a sweet short crust, or a cookie-crumb-style crust. The crust can be homemade or store bought: frozen pie dough, graham cracker, or the new fun nut crusts from Diamond—anything will work. If you are making from scratch or a frozen dough, blind bake it according to package directions or your recipe and let it cool. Purchased cookie or nut crusts can be used as is.

Build your pie

It couldn't be easier! Here we go:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Put your crust on a sheet pan for ease of transferring in and out of the oven.
  2. In a large bowl mix two 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk with a cup of any citrus juice you like (single flavor or a combo), 5 large egg yolks and a pinch of salt.
  3. Whisk until smooth and pour into your crust. (Note: This makes enough for a 10-inch pie crust. Store-bought cookie or pastry crusts may need less, because they tend to be 9 inches and shallow. If you’re making a tart you may have more filling than you need. Pour any extra filling into a ramekin and bake alongside the pie for a single serving of a sort of citrus crème brulée cook’s treat.)
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes: The top will be set, the middle will have a little jiggle like Jello, but not looking liquid. Cool on rack for 2 hours at room temperature, then place a piece of plastic wrap on the top to prevent a skin from forming, and transfer to fridge for 6-24 hours.

Toppings for citrus pie

Toppings can be as simple as whipped cream, fancy as meringue, or drizzles of anything from fruit coulis to white chocolate to caramel. Add some crunchies like meringue kisses, toasted almonds, or crumbled honeycomb candy.