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Lemon Chess Pie


From ATK

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  • 1-1/4 C (6-1/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
  • 4-6 Tbsp cold water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 C (12-1/4 oz) plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest plus 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly



Step 1

1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 pulses. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the cold water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.

3. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured counter to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease the dough onto the plate by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the plate bottom with the other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs the plate in place.

5. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself; the folded edge should be flush with the edge of the pie plate. Using your thumb and forefinger, flute the edge of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes, before filling or baking.


6. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk in 1-3/4 cups of the sugar, the lemon zest and juice, cornmeal, and salt until combined. Whisk in the butter.

7. Poke the pie shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake the shell until small bubbles appear and the surface begins to look dry, about 8 minutes. Remove the shell from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

8. Whisk the filling briefly to recombine. Scrape the filling into prepared pie shell and bake until the filling's surface is light brown and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack, about 4 hours. Serve.

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