My goodness: This is such a classic lemon pie recipe, it’s a wonder it’s taken me so long to show it off as a featured recipe in The Clara Project. Tart, fluffy, pretty—and totally make-ahead-able—this pie recipe is an instant favorite.
This recipe in Clara Shenefelt’s collection comes from The American Home magazine. These old recipes are written in such a style that it took me several read-throughs (and several more) to intuit the preparation instructions. I’ve clarified them here so you can easily make this at home.
I started with my favorite No-Roll Piecrust recipe, which produced fantastic results. The crust stayed crisp and light even after several days of refrigeration. Because I made this pie for my Mom—who loves a lemon pie that’s so tart it’ll roll your eyes backward—I tripled the amount of lemon zest called for.
Think of this pie as a sort of lemon-meringue mashup, with the lemon custard and meringue topping combined into one pillowy, lemony filling.
old-fashioned lemon chiffon pie in no-roll piecrust
1 prebaked single-crust no-roll pie crust
1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 cup cold water
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 tsp.–1 Tbsp. (or more) freshly grated lemon zest
In a small bowl, stir together the gelatin powder and cold water until the mixture resembles applesauce; set aside to soften the gelatin. Place the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl); place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. In the double boiler or heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of sugar and the salt until the mixture is smooth. Place the double boiler or bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cook the custard, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick and pudding-like, about 8 minutes. (The mixture will foam, and then the foam will subside as it thickens.) Scoop the softened gelatin into the custard and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the lemon zest. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites using a stand mixer or hand mixer until foamy; add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to transfer about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the cooled and thickened custard and fold in gently. Add the remaining egg whites to the custard, and fold gently to thoroughly combine. Transfer the filling to the prebaked pie shell. Refrigerate until serving.