Lemon Chiffon Pie
With a light and fluffy filling, this Lemon Chiffon Pie has a double dose of magnificent citrus flavor from both fresh lemon juice and zest.
Rich, homemade lemon custard is lightened with whipped egg whites and then nestled in a buttery pie crust making an unforgettable Lemon Dessert Recipe!
Why You’ll Love this Lemon Pie
- The filling is rich and cool without being heavy. It’s perfect for summer entertaining!
- If you love lemon desserts, this is a must-make recipe!
- The recipe comes from the “celebrated chef and owner of Nantucket’s Que Sera Sarah,” Sarah Lee Chase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Chiffon Pie?
Chiffon is a light and airy mixture typically used as a pie filling. The lightness comes from mixing stiffly beaten egg whites into a lemony custard.
What Does Adding Gelatin to the Lemon Filling Do?
Plain gelatin added to a pie filling will give the filling mixture some added structure as it cools. The gelatin must be dissolved in cool water and mixed into the custard until dissolved. When the pie is chilled, the gelatin will allow for nice, pristine slices.
Is it Safe to Eat Filling Containing Whipped Egg Whites?
There’s always the chance of salmonella contamination when eating raw eggs or just raw egg whites. Using pasteurized eggs is a safer option, but they are not always readily available. If you find some pasteurized eggs, add about 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar or lemon juice per egg white to help to give the whipped whites some loft. Add just after the mixture gets foamy.
Do not feed dishes with raw eggs to the very young, elderly, or those who are immune-suppressed.
What is a Double Boiler?
A double boiler is a stacked double pan set up. Two pots are configured to fit together, with one sitting partially inside the other. The lower pan holds simmering water, and the upper pan holds a mixture that needs to be gently cooked. There is just one lid.
They are used to warm or heat mixtures that are heat sensitive, like chocolate, custards (like the lemon custard in this recipe), puddings, and some sauces.
Tips for Making a Chiffon Pie
- I found a round of homemade pastry dough in my freezer, but you can always use a refrigerated store-bought dough or premade crust. Bake and cool before making the filling. A graham cracker crust would also be tasty.
- PRO-Tip: Make sure your utensils are squeaky clean before beating your egg whites. Any grease or contamination of egg yolk will prevent them from whipping properly. Do not overwhip, or the whites will create a dry and/or grainy filling.
- Make the lemon custard using a double boiler. If you don’t own a double boiler set up, nestle a medium, heat-safe bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water.
- The double boiler will help keep direct heat from the bottom of the bowl which could cause bits of the egg yolk to scramble.
- Despite using the double boiler, it’s also imperative that you stir the mixture constantly until it is the texture of a thick custard. The stirring helps all of the mixture to warm evenly.
- Do not add the whipped whites to the hot custard or they will deflate. Instead, remove the custard to a clean bowl, add the softened gelatin and let cool.
- You’ll need to fold the egg whites into the lemon custard. To fold is the process of mixing a lighter mixture into a heavier mixture without deflating it.
- PRO-Tip: To fold, the lighter mixture is placed on top of the heavier mixture. According to my Food Lover’s Companion, use a rubber spatula and “starting at the back of the bowl, cut vertically through the two mixtures and up the nearest side.” Repeat after rotating the bowl a quarter turn, then again and again, until the two mixtures have been gently combined.
- Pie Crust – If you love making homemade crust, that will taste the best, but there are decent store-bought pastry and even graham cracker crusts if you prefer to take a shortcut.
- Eggs – Large Eggs. Separate while cold, mix when at room temperature.
- Fresh Lemon Juice – Fresh squeezed is best. The bottled juice is inferior.
- Fresh Lemon Zest – Again, freshly zested is best. Never use the dried zest you can buy in a spice jar.
- Sugar – Use granulated white sugar
- Unflavored Gelatin – Knox brand is found near the flavored Jello
- Heavy Cream and Powdered Sugar – optional for garnishing. I like using a piping bag with an open star tip to pipe on swirls around the perimeter of the pie filling.
You May Also Like:
- Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf from Pam’s Daily Dish
- Lemon Strawberry Tart with Lemon Curd
- Lemon Souffles
- Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
- More of my Best Pie Recipes
- 9-inch Baked Pie Crust, either homemade or storebought
- 4 eggs, separated
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- Zest of one lemon, finely grated
- 1 scant tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted.
- Blind bake your pie crust if needed, cool, and set aside.
- Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, ½ cup of the sugar, and all except for one teaspoon of the lemon zest to the top of a double boiler and whisk together.
- Cook over the simmering water, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a thick custard consistency.
- Remove from the burner, and scrape into a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in ⅓ cup of cool water. Then add it to the custard and mix until well incorporated.
- Let the custard mixture cool to room temperature.
- When the custard is cool, whip the egg whites they start to stiffen. Add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry.
- Fold the whites into the custard just until combined.
- Pour the filling into the crust and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- To garnish, in a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff.
- Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the perimeter of the pie with a pastry bag and a star pastry tip. Garnish each star with a thin piece of lemon or curl of lemon peel and mint if desired. Or just serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint.
Make sure your egg whites are not contaminated with any egg yolk or they won't whip properly.
Adapted from Sarah Leah Chase.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 6g
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