Forget Lemon Meringue in favour of this light, airy Lemon Chiffon Pie! A great dessert any time of the year.
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My mother-in-law was famous for her Lemon Chiffon Pie. I have some of her recipes with a few ingredients jotted on the back of a slip of paper. No instructions, because she knew her recipes by heart. So she would only jot down what was significant to her... two eggs, 1 Tbsps cornstarch etc.
It took me several attempts to be able to recreate her pie. Her filling was always light and airy but sturdy enough not to slump in the pie plate.
But- hold on! As I was making it it suddenly hit me (even though I have been enjoying this pie for about 35 years!!) the egg whites are not cooked. You fold beaten eggs into the lemon curd after the curd is cooked and cooled. So... on-line to research. Nobody is going to say - go ahead and eat it...it'll be okay.....
So... while there have not been any issues with food borne illness from the chiffon in this pie in our family ... like everyone else I would have to say make your own decision. Pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system probably shouldn't take any chances.
However! I did find a technique over at Crafty Baking that shows you how to whip the egg whites over simmering water to 160 degrees. This is meant to pasteurize the whites but still leave them soft enough to fold into the lemon curd. Feel free to check it out if you have concerns with the raw egg white approach.
Fresh lemon juice is essential for this recipe. It is the only flavour so it has to shine. To maximize the juice from each lemon allow them to warm to room temperature and roll them around on your counter, pressuring them with a firm hand.
You can make a half recipe of the pie crust since you only need the base. I usually make a full recipe because I like to have lots of dough to crimp the crust edge. I just use whatever I don't need for tarts or something else. You can freeze whatever you don't need to use later. When you are blind baking the crust for a chilled pie there is a bit more danger of the crust shrinking so I want to be sure I start with a generous amount.
To blind bake I like to roll out a generous round that will allow for a generous crimped edge. Make sure to rest the dough for the stated time and that it settles nicely down into the bottom of the pie plate and hugs the sides when you are positioning it in the pie plate. Prick evenly around the bottom with a fork to avoid air puffs during baking.
I cover my crust with foil. I have a cover pie plate that is meant for blind baking but if you don't have that little piece of equipment you can put 1-2 cups of white sugar in the bottom of the foil to weight the crust down. You can reuse the sugar after you've baked it and you have no waste!
Yum.. family favourite re-discovered!
- 1 recipe Easy Pie Crust
- 1 pkg unflavoured gelatin (.25 ounce)
- ¼ cup cold water
- 4 eggs separated into yolks and whites
- 1 cup sugar divided ½ cup and ½ cup
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice from 2-3 large lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Make Easy Pie Crust and allow it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out to about a 13" circle. This will be 2-3 inches larger than the rim of your 10" pie plate. Position dough in the pie plate ensuring you have a nice solid crimped edge.
- If the dough appears to be shrinking back from the edge refrigerate for about 15 minutes after positioning dough in the pie plate. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several locations.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cover the pie plate with foil and add pie weights on top of the foil. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely in the pie plate when done baking.
- Prepare the filling while the crust is baking.
- Sprinkle gelatin over the water in a small dish and allow to sit about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile beat egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice and salt til well mixed. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken. Add gelatin and lemon zest and stir well. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
- In a separate bowl beat the egg whites and remaining ½ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the cooled lemon curd mixture. (see notes above for method for pasteurizing egg whites if desired).
- Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
- Whip cream with 1 tablespoon sugar. Pipe or spread evenly over the lemon curd filling.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.