Just four ingredients and a couple hours in the refrigerator yield a luscious, lemony dessert that takes less than five minutes to prepare. Whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest and juice and combine for a creamy filling that tastes like lemon cream pie. And instead of pie crust, the lemon mixture is layered with an ingredient you don’t usually find in desserts: Ritz crackers.
Some recipes for lemon and key lime pie call for a Ritz cracker crust, and the crackers mimic the crust without the fuss. They soften as the dish sits in the refrigerator. Graham crackers of vanilla wafers can be substituted for the crackers.
You can use the combination of whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk to make other filling flavors. Substitute the 2 teaspoons orange or lime zest and ¼ cup orange or lime juice for the lemon zest and juice for variations that taste like a Dreamsicle or key lime pie.
Make a chocolate variation by whisking ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the whipping cream and then whisking in the sweetened condensed milk. You can layer this filling with graham crackers alone, or add some miniature marshmallows for a cold s’more pudding.
You also can make a chocolate-mocha version. Just whisk 2 tablespoons instant espresso or coffee powder with 1 teaspoon water and then whisk this mixture with the whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in ¼ cup chocolate syrup and layer with thin chocolate wafers.
RITZY LEMON LAYERS
1 cup whipping cream
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Zest from 1 lemon and ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Ritz crackers, 1/2-1 sleeve
Whisk the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest and juice together in a medium bowl. Spread 1/3 of the mixture in a pie plate or small loaf pan. Top with a layer of crackers and then spread with 1/3 of the lemon mixture. Top with another layer of crackers and then end with remaining 1/3 of the lemon mixture. If there are any remaining crackers, finely crush 3 or 4 and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Makes 4-6 servings.