Besides Pumpkin

I was flipping through several cookbooks yesterday, looking for pie inspiration, but was feeling a little uninspired. Yes, pumpkin. Yes, banana cream. But what else? I looked at Martha, Chang, Poliafito and Lewis, Ko, Beranbaum, Parks, Tosi, all my usuals, but I wasn’t feeling it. Today, when I asked my kids for their thoughts, they announced they wanted all the old reliables. The ones I make every year. And, I’m actually great with that. Funny enough, they’re also all on my blog and have been for years. So, just to share some tried, true, and remarkable old reliables, here’s a list of what I’m making this year.

This is the pear custard which I’m holding in my hands and taking a picture with my old cell phone, so it looks rather unsightly. I hope it doesn’t dissuade. It’s actually super easy and delicious.

Lemon Chess Pie (my favorite, by far)

Southern Praline Pecan Pie (okay, this one might be my favorite, by far)

Pear Custard Pie (this is definitely my son’s favorite. And sometimes mine too)

Rosemary Apple Pie (sometimes I decide this is too much work, because I guess chopping rosemary just sends my brain a little over the edge, but then I’m happy I bit the bullet)

I may add another one to the lineup, like I usually do, but if so, it will be after these are baked. The extras are to leave at home, so that we don’t return from our large family dinner completely empty-handed. As much as I love bringing the pies, I always also want a slice for breakfast on Friday morning.

Hopefully this can stir the inspiration around. Happy Thanksgiving!


Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie
For Thanksgiving, I did a grand sweep of all my favorite pies (eight in total!), first, because it was Thanksgiving, and second, because I just wanted to remember them all. Well, I remembered that this is my favorite. Not too lemony, but sweet and custardy with the bright citrus flavor. It’s just lovely. In fact, I was so sad it was gone by Friday, that I made another one Saturday. Lucy and I just ate the last bites. Hopefully, we won’t wait until Thanksgiving next year to have this again. This simple pie is perfect for any night or for company, and it comes from America’s Test Kitchen Annual 2011, but has been reprinted in some of their other publications as well.

Lemon Chess Pie

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 c. plus 1 t. sugar
  • 1 T. grated lemon zest and 3 T. juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 T. cornmeal
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, chilled (try the cream cheese pie crust if you don’t have a recipe you like!)
1. MAKE FILLING: Whisk eggs in large bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk in 1¾ cups sugar, lemon zest and juice, cornmeal, and salt until -combined. Whisk in butter.2. BAKE CRUST: Poke pie shell all over with fork. Refrigerate 40 minutes, then freeze 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake shell until small bubbles appear and surface begins to look dry, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

3. BAKE PIE: Whisk filling briefly to recombine. Scrape filling into prepared pie shell and bake until surface is light brown and center jiggles slightly when shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon sugar. Cool -completely on wire rack, about 4 hours. Serve. (Pie can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 days.)