Lemon Chess Pie

Today’s pie didn’t get started until 3:30 in the afternoon. This morning, the kids and I went with some friends to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. If you live around here, you really should go. Beautiful flowers, plants, and trees–and in October, scarecrows! We had a good time and the weather was only slightly warm–a perfect fall day in Georgia.

I chose lemon chess pie because everyone in our house–especially my husband–loves lemon. It also didn’t hurt that it was a very quick recipe–45 minutes from start to finish, including cook time.

I found the recipe in the cookbook from my church growing up in Richmond, Virginia. It has several recipes of my mom’s and one of my Dad’s (that yummy Taco Pie) and lots of others from church ladies I knew growing up. This one was from a lady named Karen Williams. Thanks, Karen! This cookbook is special to me because I can read through it and recognize so many names of people who really did impact my life in a positive way. Marsha Perkins taught me to play piano. Mary Beth Askew and her husband taught my Sunday School class when I was very small. I specifically remember playing a game to a song in Mrs. Askew’s class… If you’re wearing a red dress, stand up! If you’re wearing a red dress, stand up! My mom doesn’t know it, but I wanted to wear a red dress every Sunday–just so I could stand up first. Charlotte Ganzert played the piano at our church for years–and she’s my sister’s mother-in-law. Robin Atkins works in the church office. Barbara Burruss worked in the church library. Sue Seay’s daughter, Cathy, and I were baptized on the same day. Sure, these people may have good recipes, but they also have good lives. The reason? They invested in others. Thank you, church ladies. You’ve helped to make me who I am today.

I used a quick crust because I had one, although I do intend to spend a morning in the near future making extra homemade crusts. I just really like how they hold up. The recipe has sugar, eggs, flour, salt, milk, and lemon juice. Now, the recipe called for “the juice of two lemons.” So I just put 1/4 cup of that kind you keep in the fridge. OK, OK, sue me. I don’t own a juicer and I don’t want to. Just too lazy to chop and squeeze or whatever. We’ll see–I’m sure fresh juice is better, but…whatever.

The pie came out just fine in exactly 40 minutes of baking. I left it on the rack for a couple of hours. Once again, it came out in a nice triangle. I don’t know why that matters so much to me, but it does. And…I thought it tasted really good. Especially with whipped cream. 

Sidebar:  there have been a couple of “situations” in my kitchen to take note of. The first one is this:See that burnt stuff on the bottom? I’m surprised you can’t smell it from wherever you are. Burned blueberries. Note to self: put fruit pies on a cookie sheet to avoid messy spillage. In the meantime, I’m cooking with the fans going and the front screen door open, because I don’t want the smoke to set off the fire alarm. Luckily, my lemon chess pie did not taste like fire.  Gotta figure out that self-cleaning feature on the oven.

The second situation is this: my hand mixer is tired. It’s 15 years old, and it doesn’t like to eject the beaters. It kinda makes a troubling rattly sound as it whirs in the bowl. So I think I’m gonna buy a new one very soon. I will keep you posted.

Tonight, I had to send a number of pleading text messages to my in-laws, who live up the hill from us. I had three–count ’em–THREE different pies that needed to be eaten. They were happy to help out. So glad to have helpful neighbors!

There are 27 days to go until I turn 40. Not even a whole month. Yee haw!


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