"Never say 'no' to pie. No matter what, wherever you are, diet-wise or whatever, you know what? You can always have a small piece of pie, and I like pie. I don't know anybody who doesn't like pie. If somebody doesn't like pie, I don't trust them.” - Al Roker
I was walking down the street one day last week, headed to the house after spending a leisurely morning on the sands of Mexico Beach, when I passed a little girl of about 11 years old. She had strawberry blonde hair, freckles, and, I noticed, no shoes on her feet as she made her way down the street to the beach. I knew exactly how she felt.
When I was growing up on St. Joe Beach, I often did the same thing when I headed the two blocks down the street to the path across the dunes. We always crossed at “the church sign,” where the Beach Baptist Chapel sign was, and still is. For decades there was a path across the dunes there, before the current structures there removed beach access in that spot.
My sister Sherrin and I or my friend Regina and I, depending upon who was free, would get our beach bag ready to go. Contents? A beach towel or bed sheet, a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic oil (SPF 0, unfortunately), and a “jam box,” so we could hear Journey or Def Leppard while we basked in the sun between swims.
What we didn’t often take? Flip flops. I know mom had them on our feet when we were little, and we had them throughout our life (still do, of course), but for some reason, in our adolescent years, we treated them with scorn. We behaved as if it were some sort of 1980s badge of honor to walk to the beach barefoot. That would have been fine if we lived beachfront, but there were two blocks of asphalt between ourselves and the cool waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Nonetheless, we stepped out the door, down the cool white cement steps, across the yard, and onto the street, as shoeless as Adam and Eve. We started off like troopers, especially if it were still morning, walking boldly down the two blocks, cringing only occasionally as we stepped on a small stone or sand spur. It wasn’t so bad. But the walk home was far different.
You can imagine how the black asphalt streets felt after basking in the summertime sun of northwest Florida: hot enough to fry bacon and eggs. And there we were, tired from a fun day of swimming and sunbathing, ready to get home to take a shower and cool off, when we came face-to-face with the reality of our situation: we had to get back up that hot street. The trick we found that worked pretty well was to walk on the white or yellow lines, because they were cooler than the black, sun-absorbing blacktop. We made it home every time, with sunburned shoulders and scalded feet.
Why was this a thing we did? I really have no idea, but I see by the presence of other barefoot kids walking to and from the beach that we weren’t the only silly ones to do that, which is simultaneously comforting and funny to me.
Upon returning home, it was always nice to have a cool treat waiting for us in the kitchen. Sometimes it was a popsicle from the freezer, but sometimes it was mom’s simple and delicious limeade pie. I don’t know of anything more refreshing than that icy cold pie; in honor of it, and of my mom who made it, I have gathered a few of my favorite cold pie recipes to share with you here. Since the temperature is inching up to around 90 degrees most days, they’ll help you keep your cool and be happier in general, simply because they’re so delicious!
First, my creamy strawberry pie, made with fresh berries, cream cheese and a graham cracker crust. It’s easy to make, but no one has to know it!
No-bake creamy strawberry pie
12 ounces heavy whipping cream, whipped in a bowl
12 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (2/3 cup if berries aren’t very sweet)
2 1/2 cups strawberries, stems and hulls removed, washed
1 store-bought graham cracker pie crust
1. Combine the whipped cream and room-temperature cream cheese together in a medium-sized mixing bowl, stirring or mixing until completely combined with no lumps of cream cheese visible.
2. Puree two cups of the berries in a blender or food processor. Fold them into the whipped cream mixture.
3. Pour the mixture into the crust. Slice the remaining berries, then arrange on top of the pie however you’d like. Cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for an hour or so.
Note: If it freezes for longer than an hour, you may have to allow some thawing time before slicing. You want to slice when firm but not rock hard.
This next pie recipe is so quick to make that you’ll be able to prepare it anytime you like. The ingredients are inexpensive and it’s a refreshing treat on a summer day. Share with a friend!
Lemon ice cream pie
4 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, melted
zest of one lemon
graham cracker pie crust
In large mixing bowl, combine the ice cream and the lemonade. Stir well. Sprinkle in half the lemon zest, and stir in.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust, smooth the top, and then sprinkle with remaining lemon zest.
Freeze for 4 hours; allow to soften slightly before attempting to cut into slices. Adorn with lemon slices for a lovely presentation, if you like.
My chilly peanut butter pie is creamy, cold and perfect for a hot summer day in the South. And what’s more delicious than good Southern peanuts? Now we can have them hot and boiled or cold in this creamy sweet pie.
Steph’s No-bake Peanut Butter Pie
1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker crust
1 eight-ounce package lowfat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups whipped cream, plus more for topping
Mini-peanut butter cups for topping, if desired
In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. Blend until smooth and fluffy. Add 3 cups whipped cream, then gently fold in, mixing until combined and all one color.
Pour the filing into the prepared crust, then top with more whipped cream and add candies, if desired. Chill for at least two hours before serving so you can cut it neatly and easily.
Finally, here is my mother’s refrigerator lemon or lime-flavored pie, which you’ll find so refreshing on a hot summer day.
Refrigerator Limeade Pie
8 ounces frozen limeade, thawed
8 ounces whipped topping or whipped cream
14 ounce can condensed milk
Pre-made graham cracker or shortbread crust
Optional: green food coloring
1. In a mixing bowl, combine whipped cream and condensed milk, and blend using hand mixer until combined.
2. Pour in the thawed limeade and, if desired, 3-4 drops of green food coloring, and mix on lower speed until completely combined.
3. Pour into the crust, then refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. You can also freeze, if desired. Thaw slightly to make it easier to cut, if so.
Alternatively, you can use lemonade concentrate in the same amount, and leave uncolored or use a few drops of yellow food color, just for fun.
I hope you enjoy my pie recipes, and share them some with someone you love.
What’s your favorite kind of pie? Fill me in by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love it when you share your recipes with me!
Stephanie Hill-Frazier is a writer, food blogger and regional television chef, whose on-air nickname is “Mama Steph”. She grew up in Gulf County, on St. Joe Beach, a place she will forever call home.
She is married and has three sons who love any kind of pie she makes them. You can find more of her recipes at WhatSouthernFolksEat.com, and she’d love to hear about your own favorite recipes via email at Steph@whatsouthernfolkseat.com.