Lemony Sumac Pie with Ritz Cracker Crust

Chef Paola Velez loves making crumb crusts for no-bake pies during the hot summer months. Here she uses Ritz cracker crumbs as a salty, buttery foil to a tart lemon and sumac curd filling. Sumac, a tart spice that adds floral aroma and pops of red color, backs up fresh lemon juice in this sweet and sour filling. 

Active Time:
1 hrs
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs
6 to 8 servings


For the Crust

  • 2 "sleeves" Ritz crackers (about 65 crackers)

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Lemon Sumac Filling

  • ¼ cup bottled or canned pineapple juice

  • 1 1/4-ounce envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) powdered gelatin  

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 

  • 1.3333 cups unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup grated lemon zest 

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 4 medium lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon sumac  

  • Pinch of salt  

  • 6 large eggs 

  • 8 large eggs yolks

For the Garnish

  • Kiwi quarters, pineapple wedges, Cape gooseberries, papaya slices, sliced strawberries, and/or raspberries, for garnish


Make the crust

  1. In a food processor, grind up the crackers until fine crumbs form. While the motor is running, drizzle in the melted butter and blend until well combined.

  2. Line a 9-inch pie dish with 2 layers of plastic wrap. Transfer crumb mixture to pie dish and press firmly and evenly along the bottom and up the sides, using a flat-bottomed dry measuring cup to help press the crumbs neatly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Make the Lemon Sumac Filling

  1. Pour pineapple juice into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the surface, stir to combine, and set aside to bloom.

  2. In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, sumac, and salt. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the mixture just starts to simmer (do not boil), about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Turn off burner. While whisking eggs in bowl, gradually add hot sugar mixture to bowl. Transfer egg mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the lemon curd becomes very thick and big slow bubbles begin to rise to the surface, 5 to 8 minutes.

  3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat, add the bloomed gelatin mixture, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl, stirring the filling to allow the mixture to strain (do not press), then pour into the refrigerated pie crust. It may not all fit into the pie; cover and chill any remaining filling to snack on. Refrigerate the pie until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to overnight. When ready to serve, garnish the pie with your choice of fruit. Cut the pie into wedges and use the plastic-wrap lining to help lift slices out of the pie dish.

    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee
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