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Lemon Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Photograph by Rina Jordan

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 Gingersnap Crust

Yields 1 pie

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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 again.
  3. 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 of zest.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cookies
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or ginger (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Copyright 2014 By Kate Lebo. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by permission of Sasquatch Books.

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