I make a key lime pie that is a family favorite – my 98-year old mother-in-law who lives across the street from us especially enjoys it. But today, I read about a restaurant in NYC that served a scrumptious lemon chiffon pie. I thought that might be nice to try and so went to the store to buy fresh lemons, a graham cracker crust and some heavy whipping cream.
The recipe from Epicurious sounded pretty straightforward but the lemon filling part turned out to be a little tricky when I tried it. Here’s the steps I followed:
- Baked a store-bought graham crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- During that time, I zested two lemons and separated 4 eggs, retaining the yolks.
- I squeezed 3/4 cup lemon juice using my Oster electric citrus juicer (handy for this pie and also key lime pie!)
- Set an envelope of gelatin into 1/4 cup of water and stirred it together, letting it set for 15 minutes.
- Cooked the 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 lemon juice, 4 egg yolks and lemon zest in a saucepan on the stove. Forgot to add the salt. Stirred it under boiling for 6 minutes. It blended together but didn’t thicken very much. I added the gelatin mixture and stirred it over heat for another minute (following the recipe.)
- Placed the filling in a bowl of ice water. During this step, I moved the filling and a little water got into the mixture (roll eyes!) – so I put it back in a smaller saucepan and tried to cook off the extra water for about 5 more minutes. Back into the ice water bath to cool down.
- I had put a stainless bowl and beater into the freezer to chill for whipping the cream. Took it out when the lemon filling had cooled and wasn’t warm anymore.
- I beat the cream until stiff – didn’t take very long because of the chilled utensils which always helps. Then I folded a third of the whipped cream into the lemon filling, using the whipping beater to gently fold it in – then in four more payloads of whipping cream, I folded in the rest. It looked creamy and fluffy – which was good because I had been worried the filling wasn’t thick enough.
- I poured the filling into the cooled crust and piled it higher in the middle. Set four toothpicks and put a clingwrap over the top. Instead of chilling it in the fridge, I placed the pie in the freezer, hoping it would “take” for our supper tonight. By this time, it was 4 o’clock and the recipe had called for chilling in the fridge for 4 hours.
I couldn’t resist tasting a little of the filling while washing up. It was delicious! I had used less sugar in both the filling and the whipped cream and a little more lemon juice because we like things tart. It will be interesting to see how chilling it will affect the taste.
I’ll caution you that making this pie was about three times more work than the key lime pie that I make pretty often – the cooking, 6 minutes of stirring the filling, the gelatin, cooling, whipping cream and folding it in. But, I’m also thinking that it might be at least twice as tasty! We’ll see about that.
Later, I thought of folding the whipped cream into the key lime pie filling rather than putting it on later. The texture of that pie would change dramatically too!
Anyhow, both are nice summer desserts. Good for colder weather too when there are heavier meals – and it would be refreshing to have a light, cool dessert!
Note: We just ate our first slice of pie – it was very different from the key lime pie – the texture in particular was smoother with the whipped cream incorporated into the lemon filling. Plus, there was gelatin in this recipe and you can tell. It’s lemons vs. limes but both pies are very tasty!