a lemon pie worth writing home about
everything a lemon dessert should be
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When I sought out a lemon dessert recipe that was more than just okay for a friend’s birthday, I felt called to look beyond lemon meringue. I wanted a dessert that was the best a lemon could offer. Something tart, not too sweet, something that packed a punch and was memorable. That was when I found this pie, and it’s shocking how easy it is.
It’s a close relative to a chess pie: decadent, custardy and perfect. You get a thick custardy filling with a gorgeous crisp top, and it doesn’t even need a meringue to steal the show.
The original recipe is from Kardea Brown, but I’ve made a few small tweaks to dial back the sweetness and simplify it a bit. Kardea’s version uses homemade crust, and if you’re feeling up to it and want to make your crust from scratch, I suggest you do!
I resist getting out my food processor whenever possible, so I used store bought refrigerated crust and it turned out perfectly. So perfect in fact, that I got multiple glowing texts about this pie. Here’s how to make your own!
Pie crust of your choice
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups buttermilk (room temp)
4 large eggs & 1 yolk (room temp)
½ cup salted butter (melted)
¼ cup lemon juice (typically about 2 lemons, depending on size)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Whipped cream for topping
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a standard pie plate with your dough, then crimp the edges.
Zest and juice your lemon.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, eggs, egg yolk, melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until well blended.
Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to incorporate.
Pour the filling into the dough. Bake until the top is golden brown and set around the edges with a slight jiggle in the center, about 1 hour.
TIP: If the crust starts to brown before the filling is set, covering the edges of the pie with foil will help prevent burning.
Let the pie cool to room temperature before digging in. I recommend refrigerating the pie before serving, overnight is best. Serve with whipped cream.
And that’s it! Easy peasy, you get the rest 🍋
Supplemental reading: Here’s how to make your own vanilla extract! I will warn you though, once you start making extracts it’s hard to stop. I’ve got vanilla, cinnamon, lavender, and lemon going right now. They make fantastic gifts!
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