FOOD: Popeyes – Lemonade Icebox Pie

Popeyes Lemonade Icebox Pie 01

If you haven’t had lemon icebox pie, you’re missing out. They’re similar to the classic key lime pie, with a few key differences. Made with lemon juice, condensed milk, and sugar, this pie requires little to no baking. Its name comes from iceboxes, which were the 19th century precursor to the refrigerator, because – unlike most pies – it didn’t require anything more complicated than being placed in the icebox to set.

Popeyes has come out with their own take on lemon icebox pie – well, they’ve ordered it in from Schwan’s food service, and for some reason they’re calling it a “lemonade” icebox pie. Does a citrus cold-closet confection by any other name still taste as sweet?

Popeyes Lemonade Icebox Pie 02

Served ice cold, and managed to stay cold on the drive home.

The immediate first impression we had was striking, if not particularly encouraging: upon being taken out of the box and placed onto the plate for the photoshoot, the crust practically exploded. Sticky, dusty crumbs got everywhere and refused to move. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but this definitely isn’t a good idea to eat while driving.

The box it comes in folds out with tearaway edges to make a neat plate.

The box it comes in folds out with tearaway edges to make a neat plate.

The first bite is promising: the pie filling is soft and custardy, with a slightly grainy texture from the undissolved sugar and the bits of crust that sneak their way upwards. A more uniform texture would have been nice, but it’s not that big of a problem.

The slice of pie is pretty small, but we bought ours for only $1.29, so it's a pretty decent deal.

The slice of pie is pretty small, but we bought ours for only $1.29, so it’s a pretty decent deal.

The flavor is definitely very tart, but /overwhelmingly/ sweet – the lemony notes of the filling are completely overwhelmed by the sugar of the cream and the crust. The whipped topping towards the edges has the familiar cloying, oily taste of canned whipped cream, which doesn’t play very well with the filling.
That massive amount of sugary sweetness ends up making it taste more like lemonade than your typical lemon pie. At least the name is honest. Though the extreme sweetness might be offputting to some, it was actually pretty refreshing to eat in the warm spring weather. This pie made us think of the upcoming summer and promises of cool lemonade in the shade.

4 out of 5 – Worth Trying (Worth Getting Again)
This pie is not without its flaws: the flavor is struggling with the balance between tart and sweet, ultimately becoming overwhelming on both ends. Its solid vanilla cracker crust with its sweet cinnamon flavor should have supported the body of the lemonade filling very well, but ultimately had no structural integrity, being crumbly and grainy. Dollops of whipped cream add a strange oily flavor that work against the whole of the pie.
Despite these misgivings, the soft creamy texture and appealing sweetness won out to make a memorable slice of pie. It seems like a lot of complaints for a 4 out of 5, but what good is there is just self-explanatory: it’s a sweet and cold treat on a hot day, and it’s better than the competition when it comes to fast food pies.

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