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Summer dessert: Lemon chess pie recipe

A Southern classic, the lemon chess pie recipe gets an update with a rich shortbread crust, juicy berries and fresh whipped cream.

Lemon chess pie

Growing up with a dad who loved any lemon dessert, I have had my delicious fill of lemon bars and lemon meringue pies. Craving something different — and without a meringue — I have fallen in love with lemon chess pie, especially when the usual pie crust is swapped out for a richer, buttery shortbread. To me, lemon chess pie combines two childhood fave desserts that will always remind me of my dad.

Lemon chess pie

Serves 8


For the crust:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten

For the whipped cream:

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries for garnish


  1. To make the shortbread crust, combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend on medium to make a paste.
  2. Add the egg yolk and mix until well blended. Add the flour and, using your fingers, blend to make a crumbly dough, being careful not to overwork.
  3. Pat dough firmly into a 9-inch pie pan and let rest in the refrigerator at least two hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. To make the filling, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter is just melted, remove pan from heat and whisk in the lemon zest, juice, salt, sugar, cornmeal, cornstarch and eggs until well combined.
  6. Pour the lemon filling into the chilled pie shell. Bake the pie on the bottom shelf for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the filling is set. The top should be golden brown. If crust starts to brown too quickly during bake time, cover with a pie crust protector or strips of aluminum foil.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
  8. When pie is cooled, prepare the whipped cream. In a large bowl, combine cream and sugar. Use a hand mixer to whip the cream until firm peaks form (do not overbeat).
  9. To serve, cut pie into eight wedges and serve each wedge topped with whipped cream and scattered with raspberries.

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