3d pan white

Pie, Pie, Me oh My, I love Pie!

For Thanksgiving I made pumpkin with coconut milk and lemon chess pie. I've seen the recipe for Chess Pie in my mom's old Joy of Cooking for years and always been intrigued. I finally got up the nerve to try the lemon variation. It was a bit trickier than most pie, but It tastes like lemon cheesecake and was the hit of both dinners!


Lemon Chess Pie

1 pie crust, prebaked (get it good and brown. I didn't and wish I had)

1 large egg

4 large egg yolks

1 1/3 cups white sugar (I subbed 1/2 cup maple syrup for 2/3 cup sugar and it worked out great)

zest of one lemon

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup heavy cream (I used a scant 1/3 cup to make up for the extra liquid of the maple syrup)

6 tbs butter


Preheat oven to 275. If not still warm, warm the pie crust in the oven while preparing the filling.

In a heatproof bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar together "just until no yellow streaks remain" - or a couple seconds with an electric mixer. Whisk in the cream, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a skillet and set the bowl in the water. Scatter the butter, cut into small pieces, over the egg mixture and whisk until the butter melts. Continue whisking until the mixture is "shiny and warm to the touch" - I was confused but I went until the filling was warm and everything turned out OK.

Pour the filling into the warm crust and bake "from 25 - 40 minutes". Mine took close to 40.

I took it out of the oven when the filling was still a jiggly, but on it's way to being set. It set completely when I took it out to cool, but it was never browned. Everyone raved about this pie.


The joy of cooking had a Chess Pie variation called the Jefferson Davis pie with the eggs, milk, sugar, butter as well as chopped dates, rasins, nuts and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. A little wacky, a little wild... but it might just be good :)

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Taken on November 27, 2008