Everyone loves pie. The mom.me team loves pie, but we sometimes struggle with baking the perfect pie, and resort to the store-bought variety. That was, until, we received a copy of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter by Kate Lebo. Now that we're pupils in her school of pie, we've been cooking up delicious fruit and nut pies every night of the week. Her no-nonsense approaching to teaching, her poetic language, and swoon-worthy fillings make this a delightful and delicious read.
Lemon is always worth a little trouble. Lemon chiffon is like a lemon meringue pie whose layers have been folded together.
RECIPE: Lemon Chiffon Pie with
Yields 1 pie
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
½ cup water
½ cup lemon juice (from about 3 medium lemons)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ pint raspberries or blueberries, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 recipe any-cookie-crumb
crust (recipe follows) made with gingersnaps (unless they are bland, omit the
cinnamon), baked and cooled
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan off the stove, combine the gelatin
with ½ cup of the sugar and the salt. Mix well. In another bowl, beat the egg
yolks with the water and lemon juice until combined. Stir the wet ingredients
into the dry ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for
about 5 minutes, or until the mixture barely comes to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the filling to a medium bowl.
Stir in the lemon zest, and refrigerate the mixture until it has partially set,
around 20 to 30 minutes. Briefly stir the mixture every 5 minutes while
chilling to catch it at just the right setting stage—the mixture will lump
softly when you drop it from the spoon back into the bowl. If you accidentally
chill the mixture too long, heat it gently back up in a saucepan and chill
With an electric beater, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar and beat until the meringue is glossy
and stiff. Fold the meringue into the filling, stirring gently from the bottom
of the bowl until the filling’s color is pale yellow with darker yellow flecks
Line the bottom of the crust with the berries. Pour in the filling until
it almost threatens to flow over the crust. Refrigerate until completely set,
about 2 to 3 hours. To garnish with more berries, check the filling in about 15
to 20 minutes. When the top is firm enough to hold the berries but still soft
enough to easily nestle them into the filling, do that, arranging them in
whatever sort of pattern looks nicest.
Serve chilled. Store leftovers under a large bowl in the fridge to
protect the pie from off flavors and dry spots. Or drape the pie in plastic
wrap. This pie keeps pretty well. After 5 days the crust might be a little
soggy but the filling will still be dreamy.
RECIPE: Any-Cookie-Crumb Crust
Yields 1 bottom crust
2 cups cookies
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or ginger (optional)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they’ve been smashed to
crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, put the cookies in a resealable
plastic bag, push the air out of the bag, seal it, and smash the contents with
a heavy object. A rolling pin works well. Large cookbooks can do the trick too.
Smash until everything is crumbs.
In a medium bowl, mix the crumbs with the salt and cinnamon (if using).
Pour the melted butter over the cookie crumbs and mix with a fork to combine.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the crumb mixture in a 9- to 9½-inch pie plate and, using your
fingers, spread it in a thin layer over the bottom and up the sides.
Bake the crust for 10
minutes, or until it’s slightly fragrant and golden. Cool it on a wire rack
before filling. Note: Unlike pastry crusts, you can refrigerate a cookie crust
to cool it faster.