While I’m a confirmed chocoholic, sometimes I like to shake things up a bit. So when my friend, George, gave me several lemons from his tree, I decided to make a lemon pie. And I didn’t want just a hint of lemon…I wanted LEMON! Toe curling lemon!
The key to achieving lip smacking lemony flavor is using plenty of lemon zest. For you newbies, zest is the very outer layer of citrus – where the color is (not the white rind part). Use the smallest holes on a cheese grater and cautiously scrape away. One lemon produces about 1 packed teaspoon.
Portion control being my motto, individual pies baked in custard cups were in order. When I make a standard sized pie, I have a tendency to cut myself a slice, then (because it wasn’t a perfect cut) “clean up” the raggedy edge left behind, then (after inhaling said piece) slice myself “just a wee bit more”.
If something is already preordained as a portion, I seem to have better control over myself. (I remember the days when I could eat half a cake, do 10 jumping jacks, and not gain an ounce. Sigh!)
While the graham cracker crust is briefly baked, the pie isn’t. Rather, the filling is cooked on the stovetop, poured over the crust, then refrigerated. For optimum taste, Mini Lemon Pies should be made the day before serving so they’ve properly set and chilled.
MINI LEMON PIES – makes 4 custard cup pies
- 3 T butter, melted
- 6 graham crackers (3.2 oz), well crushed (no chunks!)
Mix butter and graham crackers together with a fork. Divide evenly amongst 4 custard cups. Pat down to fill the bottom of each cup. To do this faster and easier, I use a 5th custard cup to press down the crust, rather than my fingers or a spoon.
Bake at 350º Fahrenheit for 7 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp packed lemon zest (don’t be stingy!)
Melt butter and set aside to cool down a little while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Put water in the bottom half of a double boiler. Don’t overfill or the water will sputter out.
Into the top half, put the eggs. Beat well with an egg beater or whisk. Add in sugar, lemon juice, zest, and butter. Turn flame on medium. Adjust heat as needed to keep the water from boiling over.
Stir well and frequently until thickened – about 10 minutes. (At around 7 minutes you’ll notice the mixture begins to thicken.)
NOTE: The filling will firm up in the fridge.
Remove the top pot from the water bath, wipe off the dripping water, and pour the filling evenly into the 4 custard cups. Let set on the counter at least half an hour to cool, then refrigerate in a covered container.
Top with whipped cream, if you like, and serve. Then try and restrain yourself from indulging in another.