Jazz Bytes ~ Four n’ Twenty Blackbirds’ Lemon Chess Pie By ElsenEM

Here is a recipe for a desert and being an Ex New Yorker winters went a lot better when Thanksgiving swung around and this was on the menu especially when fruits were shipped in from God knows where!  I just had to share it with you!  Let me know what you think…

For Food52’s Pie Week, our guest editors are Emily and Melissa Elsen, the pie mavens behind Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY. They will be sharing recipes all week from their first cookbook, and giving away a copy each day!  I am going to share a vegan “cheesecake” which definitely fits into the NY style Cheesecake reputation.

Today: A winter pie that still manages to be bright and tangy.

Lemon Chess Pie  Photo by Gentl & Hyers
Lemon Chess Pie
Photo by Gentl & Hyers

Author Notes: Lemon Chess has garnered a close following in the pie shop, appearing most often on the menu during the winter months, when fresh fruits are scarce. – ElsenEM

 Serves 8-10 people

 Zest of 1 lemon

1 2/3 cup cups of granulated sugar

1  tablespoon stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1  tablespoon flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

5 Large eggs

2/3 cups heavy cream

7  tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

3  tablespoons fresh orange juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 This pie uses our All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, partially prebaked. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. In large bowl, stir together the lemon zest, sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the melted butter, then the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix briskly until the filling is thick and light-colored. Stir in the heavy cream, followed by the lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell, or strain it into a separate bowl and then pour it into the shell. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30 to 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still wobbles slightly; it should be lightly golden on top. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set as it cools. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 3 to 4 hours. Slice and serve. The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.

To win a copy of The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, tell us in the comments: What is your favorite winter pie? We’ll pick winners at random at the end of the week! (Unfortunately, we can only ship domestically.)

Bon Appétit!  Peace Out…JBC

9 thoughts on “Jazz Bytes ~ Four n’ Twenty Blackbirds’ Lemon Chess Pie By ElsenEM

    1. Okay, this might sound stupid to you, but I am going to ask when baking pie, cakes etc. do you find that the recommended temp in the recipe is on or off, then make that adjustment for this recipe. Let me know if that makes sense…Peace Out! JBC


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