Lemon Icebox Pie [a la Tennessee Williams]

This pie is said to have been the American playwright’s favorite. Refrigerated until it was ice-cold, the result is, Williams said, “good enough to slap your Mama.”

1/2 box ‘Nilla wafers
1 stick [1/2 Cup] butter, softened

For the pie filling:
1/2 Cup lemon juice [preferably freshly-squeezed]
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk

For the meringue:
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar

Accompaniment: grated lemon rind

Crush vanilla wafers: in a food processor, if you have one. If not, put cookies into a ziploc bag and smash wafers with a rolling pin. Melt stick of butter in small saucepan on the stove. Combine crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter in a pie pan. Pat crust mixture into bottom of pan and up the side, using your fingers.

In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolk. Pour mixture into the cookie crust in the pie pan.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and sugar, using a mixer and its whisk attachment on the highest speed, until stiff white peaks form. Pour meringue over the lemon pie filling, and top with lemon zest.

Bake pie in oven at a moderate temperature, just long enough for the meringue to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven, and allow to cool on a cooling rack to room temperature. Put cooled pie in the icebox [refrigerator] until ice-cold.