December 23, 2011

Homestead Lemon Cream Pie

Lemon Cream Pie, a Christmas tradition

Lemon cream pie is my best favorite pie. I love pie and can list a lot of others I like, but given a choice, and if it's made with my great-grandmother's recipe, this is the one I'll choose. Very exciting then to be able to grow and harvest my own lemons, even if it's only a few.

My dwarf, potted, Meyers lemon tree first bloomed exactly a year ago, and I've watched the flowers turn to tiny lemons. I started with about 27 teeny little fruits, but the tree self-pruned until in the end I got 5 mature lemons. The first lemon fell off the tree in October, and didn't look so good. The good parts tastily flavored iced tea. One more went for tea on Thanksgiving, and one went for making green tomato jam. I saved the biggest and the best for a lemon cream pie. That along with our homestead eggs and milk, make it very special indeed.

This recipe is a very old one, and I'm giving it to you exactly as I received it. As with many old recipes, it assumes a basic working knowledge of the techniques, and I have to say that watching my grandmother make this pie for many years really helped. No one else in my immediate family cares for lemon pie, so I only make it once a year, usually around Christmastime.

Lemons, eggs, & milk, all homegrown

Ella's Lemon Cream Pie

This makes a small, lemony, tart/sweet pie, not just lemon flavored! If you're a lemon lover, this one's for you.

2 lemons,  grate rind & juice
1 C. sugar (I increased to 1.25 C because the lemons were so large)
1 C. milk
2 tbsp cornstarch or flour
3 egg yolks

Cook in double boiler. Frost with whites of eggs beaten stiff with 1/2 cup sugar. Brown in oven.

Just out of the oven

Cook's Notes:
  • Ella was my great-grandmother on my father's side.
  • The recipe doesn't mention it, but obviously you need an empty, baked, pie shell.
  • I used my no-fail pie crust recipe for that, click here & scroll down a bit
  • I used Mama Pea's trick to make it behave while baking 
  • I am not an artistic cook and rarely manage aesthetic, picture book creations. Obviously.
  • Cooking the filling to thicken takes fairly long, over 30 minutes. I cook it until it traces (like soap) and then some. It needs constant stirring, so I always take this time to read a book!
  • It sets completely as it cools.
  • The biggest challenge was whipping the egg whites by hand, because my Kitchen Aid is still on the fritz. 
  • Dan helped with that.
  • I use my smallest pie pan, a 9 incher. Even then it does not make a thick or tall pie.
  • This is fine with me because it's not the meringue I'm after, it's the filling. ;)


Mama Pea said...

OH! That. looks. wonderful! Have I mentioned I LOVE lemon pie? I am going to make this. Thanks for your "notes." So sorry no one else in your family likes lemon pie. Because I want to help you out and make sure none of it goes to waste, I am leaving in 45 minutes. See you soon. (Blessings upon Ella!)

Ngo Family Farm said...

I think it looks fantastic! And it's extra special that you used all your homegrown ingredients. I love anything with lemon, and am very excited to try your great-grandmother's recipe. Thank you for sharing it. Merry Christmas, Leigh!

Alla said...

Looks really yummy!! And I'm sure it'a even yummier to know that it has homegrown ingredients! Yay!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Boy that looks yummy and easy, I'd have to visit the store,, I don't have any thing there homegrown :o(

bspinner said...

I LOVE lemon pie. I hope you don't mind if I steal your recipe??? I only wish I had my own lemons.

Judy said...

Aren't pies like this wonderful? I have my grandmother's pecan pie, my aunt's pumpkin chiffon pie and my great-aunt's peanut butter pie. Thanks for sharing your great-grandmother's lemon cream. pie

Anonymous said...

Oh my....perfection! Mmmm! Happy Holidays!! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I am over here drooling Leigh!! That looks so good:) I hope you and the hubby have a great Christmas!!

Tom Stewart said...

I can remember as a kid watching mt Dad do all the Holiday cooking, and he started on the pies first. Hw made them all, Apple, Pecan, Pumpkin, even Mencemeat! But my favorate was the Lemon Marange!

He would make this one from scratch and when I got older, I got to watch until the filling thickened.
We lost Dad in 2005, And I have not baked one of his, thinking that it would not be the same! But now maybe I will!
Thanks! Merry Christmas!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, well, if it's gone by the time you get here, I'll just have to make another. :)

Jaime, those homegrown ingredients made it special indeed! I hope you enjoy it.

Alla, good to hear from you! It was very yummy, no doubt about it!

Ginny, you need a Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree!

Barb, help yourself. You need a Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree too. :)

Judy, oh yes, I love those old recipes. Do you have your recipes posted on your blog? I'd be very interested.

Pam, good to hear from you! No one of those terribly healthy recipes, but a real keeper nonetheless. :)

Stephanie, thanks! And a Merry Christmas to you and yours too.

Tom, wow, that's a lot of pies! We only go with pumpkin and lemon. You should try his recipe. I'm sure it would honor him to carry on the tradition.

Theresa said...

Oh god YUM! Food porn and lemon is my favorite in just about anything. Thank you for the recipe, but really, can' you just send me a pie????;)
Have a wonderful holiday Leigh, I hope you two are taking the day off and enjoying all the fruits of your labour together and of course, polishing off that pie!

Seeking Serenity said...

heehee at Theresa's food porn :D
My dad grew a lemon once and it was the best lemon pie I ever had, fresh homemade is the best!! I love the way your crust looks,really, makes it look even more tasty!

Nina said...

Lemon pie doesn't last long here, that's for sure! Your recipe looks delicious. I agree with you with it being all about the filling. A really good lemon filling is hard to beat!

Renee Nefe said...

YUM!!! :D

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us. I love old tried and true recipes, and being that it was from your great gramma, and you even remember helping . . . that is really special. I do have the fresh eggs, but I'll depend on others for the milk and lemons, but I'm certainly going to be making this soon. Now I'm curious to go check out your pie crust recipe!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Now, after checking out your pie crust recipe, I need to find a source for Spectrum's. I noticed that good ol' Amazon carries it, but hopefully I'll find it locally. And another thing I need to find out about is "tracing, like in soap" . . . that's a new term to me. You've got me curious this morning!

Sue said...

I'm with you - lemon pie is the best. And uber-special with all the home grown ingredients.

I love your comment about making the meringue. My first year in college I started to cook, and one day decided to make a lemon meringue pie. Had to whip the meringue with a plastic fork since that was all I had. I really wanted that pie!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and hopefully the new year will bring you Kinder kids

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

Your posts about food always make me want to drive over to you and have some! Looks Delicious - I LOVE lemon pie.

Leigh said...

Theresa, LOL. It is decadent looking, isn't it. I wish you a Merry Christmas as well. Ours will indeed be a day of relaxation, family, and rest.

Peaceful, a good crust recipe is a must! I know your dad's lemons were tasty, there's just something about them.

Nina, I agree about fillings. It's very disappointing to get a piece of lemon pie that tastes more like sugar than lemons. Like store bought jelly, all sugar and little fruit flavor. That's why I love this recipe.

Renee, and it was!

Janice, from one lemon lover to another, you'll enjoy this one. As for tracing, the best thing to do would be to google a picture. So much easier to show than describe!

Sue, that's a job! Not so sure I'll do it again, unless I'm still mixer-less next Christmas. :)

Cecilia, it would be a great pie to share. :)

Tina T-P said...

Oh, that looks delicious - I shall have to try it - both the shepherd & I like Lemon pie - I'll bet with your own lemon it was doubly delicious!

Merry Christmas to everyone from our farm to yours. XOX T.

Leigh said...

Tina, and it was. :) Merry Christmas to you and the Shepherd too!

Grace said...

Leigh, that just looks so good and what a nice contrast to all of the creamy, sweet stuff out there right now. Tangy lemon pie. Love it!

Family recipes are such treasures,. aren't they? I look forward to teaching my niece some of our family recipes.