Lemon Chess Pie
When it comes to Thanksgiving, people can be particular about their pie. For some, foregoing pumpkin pie would be as unthinkable as swapping a ham for the turkey. Others cannot imagine finishing the feast with anything but a thin sliver of pecan pie. A whole different group believes that nothing celebrates an American holiday better than old fashioned apple pie. For me, I’m a lover not a fighter- all types of pie are welcome!
This year, to satisfy the different pie preferences in our family, I went the route of a traditional pumpkin pie (recipe coming soon) and a non-traditional but much loved lemon chess pie. I have shared the lemon bias with you before- a taste for the tart citrus which has happily danced through three generations without skipping a beat. As the conclusion to an evening of epic eating, I can think of no better dish to cleanse the palate and satiate the sweet tooth, than a bright creamy slice of lemon pie.
The best part about this dish is that it literally comes together in minutes. The crust can be made up to 1 week ahead of time (or purchased at the store) and the recipe requires only 4 ingredients. A lemony filling is whirled together in the food processor and then poured into a deep dish pie shell. The pie puffs up in the oven and then falls back down while cooling, creating a silky custard-like texture which is reminiscent of the best lemon bars and pairs beautifully with softly whipped cream. If you need to bake several pies, this recipe is a secret weapon for success, requiring only a few minutes of work with fantastic results. Plus, the lemon lovers in your life will be thrilled!
Lemon Chess Pie (Printable Recipe)
Adapted from: A Love Affair with Southern Cooking, by Jean Anderson
Makes 1- 9″ Pie
Notes: Before making the pie, bring all ingredients to room temperature. If you are using a store bought crust, choose a deep dish variety, and re-crimp the sides of the shell by gently pushing the edges of the dough upward in the pan with your fingers and then crimping the top between your forefinger and thumb in a zig-zag pattern. This will help keep the filling inside the crust when it puffs up in the oven.
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of 3 large lemons, peeled off of the lemons in strips
Juice of 3 large lemons
5 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
One 9-inch unbaked pie shell
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle. Place the sugar and the lemon zest strips in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the zest is finely chopped and well combined with the sugar. With the food processor running, pour the lemon juice into the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, pulsing briefly between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Leave the processor on again, and add the butter in a slow stream while the blade is running. Once the ingredients are well combined, stop the processor.
Pour the lemon pie filling into the pie shell and set the dish on top of a rimmed cooking sheet lined with tinfoil (to catch any spillovers). Bake the pie in the middle of the oven until the filling puffs up and turns a very light brown, about 45-50 minutes.
Set the baking sheet with the pie pan on top on a metal rack and let the pie cool to room temperature. The filling will settle down into a thin layer with a custard-like consistency. Once the pie is cool, cut it into small wedges and serve with softly whipped cream. The pie can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 1 week after baking.