Lemons, sugar and eggs. That's all it takes to make this beyond delicious lemon chiffon pie.
As folks were raving about the pie last week, I couldn't help but show them the mise en place, below.
But, and I do mean BUT, it's not as easy to prepare as it may seem. A friend, upon seeing the picture, asked: So you just mix it all together? Not exactly, and this recipe proves there's no free lunch in baking. Three ingredients might mean easy shopping, but not necessarily easy baking. (But having said that, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks is Recipes 1-2-3, a fabulous three-ingredient cookbook by the brilliant Rozanne Gold, who I was lucky enough to meet when she volunteered as a cake contest judge at Henry Street Settlement in May.)
Now, let's get to work. I promise, it's worth it for this wonderful, light and sweet-tart confection. (The last lemon chiffon pie I made was even more complicated and quite a disaster if you weren't wanting pie soup.)
First the eggs must be separated. Then the lemon zested and juiced.
The yolks are beaten, then the lemon juice, zest and sugar are added, and the mixture combined and placed in a double boiler (or just put the mixing bowl atop a saucepan of simmering water) and cooked until thick, stirring all the while. Meantime, you've beaten the egg whites, adding some sugar to form a meringue. Combine the two mixtures and place in the pie crust you've made and pre-baked. Easy, right?
Below are just a few of the steps, illustrated.
First, the egg yolks, lemon, and sugar on the stovetop.
Cook about ten minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
Add the meringue and fold in.
Prepare and pre-bake your pie crust before starting the filling.
Pile the filling in the pie crust.
Watch the oven carefully. It browns quickly, even in a 325 degree oven. Enjoy. This pie really does elicit oohs and aaahs. So much so, you might forget all the work it took to make it!
This recipe, credited to Mrs. Eloise Nicholls, appears in Mrs. Osborn's Cakes of Quality, c. 1919, a copy of which I found at a yard sale in the Adirondacks and prompted me to start this blog. And this pie is truly one of the treasures from the past.