Lemon Chess Pie and a Funny Story

As a girl who loves to bake you’d think I would always have all the staple ingredients on hand, wouldn’t you? Well you’re wrong. This past week I made a meal that required two eggs. Then I spontaneously made some chocolate chip cookies which required two more eggs. Now I only buy the half-dozen cartons of eggs so I don’t waste anything. What I didn’t realize is that the pie calls for three eggs. However I didn’t notice that until I was halfway through the recipe. The oven was already preheated and ready to go but I had to turn it off to run to the grocery store to buy, let me remind you, eggs.

So I get to the grocery store and think, ‘I’ll pick up some pita chips while I’m here’. While I was wandering down the chip aisle looking for pita chips I guess I forgot what I actually went to the store for. When I realized that they didn’t carry pita chips I walked over to the cooler area where they have all the dairy products, eggs, canned biscuits, etc….

And I pick up butter…

and proceed to check out.

Face, meet palm. The funny thing is that I got all the way out to the car before I realized that I had purchased the wrong thing! Oh man was I embarrassed, but what can you do but laugh? So instead of walking back in to get a carton of eggs I instead went to another store to buy them. Turns out the other store I went to only sells them by the dozen. At least I’ll be better prepared next time I have to bake, right?!

Now, let me go ahead and tell you all  of the ingredients so you can make sure you have them when you decide to make this pie.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3-5 Tbsp. cold milk

photo 1

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. It should look like freshly fallen snow.

photo 3

Cut the shortening in with a pasty blender until it’s the size of small peas.

photo 4

photo 5

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the milk over part of the flour mixture. Gently toss the wet flour mixture with a fork and move to the side of the bowl. Repeat this step on the dry flour until all of the flour mixture is moistened.


Roll the dough out enough to cover your 9-inch pie plate. If you don’t have a roller you can always use a cup with flat sides (which is what I had to do). Be sure to handle the dough as little as possible! Once the dough is ready and in your pie dish, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now it’s time to make the filling.


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 2 lemons


Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.


Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.


Beat in eggs then stir in the cornmeal and lemon juice. I squeezed the lemons over a sieve so no seeds would fall into the mixture. The recipe originally called for the juice of 1 1/2 lemons but I found that the flavor wasn’t as lemony as I had hoped. So whether you want more or less lemon flavor is totally up to your taste preferences!


Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is deep golden brown. You may need to check the pie close to when it’s finished and rotate it in the oven.


Cool on a wire rack for, unfortunately, an hour before slicing. That is honestly the hardest part of making this pie!


The smell was so enticing once it came out of the oven I wanted to immediately dig in. However that would have resulted in a less stable pie filling and that would have been pretty sad. This recipe came from a book I got in the Auburn campus bookstore called Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies. If you like (or love) pie I highly recommend you buy it! There are many different pies to choose from and they all sound delicious. Enjoy!



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