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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie... what an odd name when you think about it. You'd picture something maybe chocolate and vanilla that creates a fancy "checkerboard" or "chess board" appearance. However, this is actually the simplest of pies.

I've always wondered about the origins of the name. Obviously, it has nothing to do with the game of chess. There have been many explanations offered throughout the years from it being a corruption of "cheese" (although it contains no cheese) to being a corruption of the Southern pronunciation of "just pie" (jes' pie) to being a reference to a pie chest (sometimes called a pie safe) used to hold cooling pies in the days before refrigeration.

Who knows? But, what I do know is they're really simple to make and taste delicious. This is a great dessert when you have guests coming and don't have a lot of fancy ingredients in the house.

Make sure when you make this that you allow it to chill fully before serving. The coolness really brings out the lemony flavor. These are super sweet and are often served with coffee (chicory is best) after dinner or for brunch.


1 9" Pie Crust
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tbs. lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. white cornmeal
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425° and place pie crust in pan. Crimp or trim edges and line with foil and weight with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake for 5 minutes. Remove foil and weights and return to oven for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow crust to cool completely and reduce oven temperature to 350°

In a large bowl whisk together all other ingredients and pour into pie shell. Bake for 50 minutes or until center of pie is set. Allow to cool a minimum of 1 hour then garnish with whipped cream, curled lemon peel or lemon wedges. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
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