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Lemon Chiffon Pie

Lemon Chiffon Pie: A Refreshing Dessert Delight

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Lemon Chiffon Pie is a classic dessert that combines the tangy zest of fresh lemons with a light and airy texture, making it a perfect treat for any occasion. This pie is loved for its refreshing taste and smooth consistency, all nestled in a crisp pie crust. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, celebrating a special occasion, or simply craving something citrusy and sweet, this recipe will surely delight your taste buds.

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Ingredients

For the Pie:

  • 1 (9-inch) baked pie crust, homemade or store-bought

For the Lemon Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For Serving:

  • Sweetened whipped cream

Instructions

1. Prepare the Pie Crust

Begin by ensuring your pie crust is baked and cooled completely. You can use a store-bought crust or make one from scratch according to your preference and dietary needs. A buttery, flaky crust complements the tartness of the lemon filling perfectly.

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2. Make the Lemon Filling

Step 1: Prepare the Lemon Mixture

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, dash of salt, and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture comes to a gentle boil. This process helps infuse the lemon flavor into the base of your pie filling.

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Step 2: Thicken the Filling

Next, in a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Gradually add this cornstarch mixture to the boiling lemon mixture, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens and becomes smooth, usually about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and add unsalted butter, stirring until it’s completely melted and incorporated.

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Step 3: Temper the Egg Yolks

In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Gradually add a small amount of the hot lemon mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. This step, known as tempering, prevents the eggs from cooking too quickly and ensures a smooth consistency in your filling.

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Step 4: Combine and Cook

Slowly pour the tempered egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the filling thickens and begins to gently bubble. This should take around 2-3 minutes. Stir in lemon zest for an extra burst of citrus flavor. Allow the lemon filling to cool slightly while preparing the meringue.

3. Prepare the Meringue

Step 1: Beat Egg Whites

In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form and the sugar is completely dissolved. The meringue should be glossy and hold its shape when the beaters are lifted.

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4. Assemble the Pie

Step 1: Combine Lemon Mixture and Meringue

Gently fold half of the prepared meringue into the warm lemon mixture until thoroughly combined. The incorporation of meringue adds a light and airy texture to the pie filling. Pour the lemon mixture into the pre-baked pie crust, spreading it evenly with a spatula or spoon.

Step 2: Top with Meringue

Spread the remaining meringue over the top of the lemon filling, ensuring to seal it to the edges of the pie crust. Use the back of a spoon to create swirls or peaks in the meringue, which will lightly brown and add visual appeal to the finished pie.

Step 3: Bake or Chill

For a classic finishing touch, lightly brown the meringue under a preheated broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning. Alternatively, refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours to allow the filling to set completely. Chilling the pie also enhances the flavors, making it a refreshing dessert choice on warm days.

5. Serve

Slice the Lemon Chiffon Pie into portions and serve each slice topped with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. The combination of tangy lemon filling and creamy whipped topping creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures that will leave your guests delighted.

Cooking Notes

  • Pie Crust Options: Feel free to use a traditional pie crust, graham cracker crust, or even a gluten-free alternative to suit dietary preferences.
  • Lemon Zest: The zest of one lemon adds bright citrus notes to the filling. Adjust the amount according to your preference for a more or less pronounced lemon flavor.
  • Meringue Tips: Ensure the bowl and beaters used for whipping egg whites are clean and free of any grease, as this can prevent the egg whites from achieving stiff peaks.
  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the lemon filling and pie crust in advance, assembling the pie and adding the meringue just before serving for the freshest taste and texture.

Variations

  • Lemon Meringue Pie: For a classic twist, omit the meringue topping and instead layer the lemon filling in a pre-baked pie crust, topping with dollops of whipped cream or toasted meringue.
  • Fruit Garnishes: Enhance the presentation by garnishing each slice with fresh berries, such as raspberries or strawberries, which complement the lemon flavor beautifully.
  • Nutty Crust: Substitute crushed almonds or pecans for a portion of the pie crust for added texture and nutty flavor.

Lemon Chiffon Pie is a timeless dessert that captures the essence of summer with its zesty lemon flavor and delicate, cloud-like texture. Whether enjoyed after a family dinner or served at a festive gathering, this pie is sure to impress with its refreshing taste and elegant presentation. Follow this recipe to create your own slice of citrusy heaven, and savor each bite of this creamy, tangy treat.

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Enjoy the bright flavors and creamy texture of Lemon Chiffon Pie, a dessert that promises to be a favorite among lemon lovers and pie enthusiasts alike!