Here is a fun recipe for an old-fashioned dessert called Yellow Fellow Pie from a cookbook called Soup Bowl West by Mitchell and Sedgwick. A cross between a delicate lemon sponge cake and a lemon custard pie, if your inner pie baker has been slumbering for a long time, it might be time to wake her/him/it up. Pie crusts scare people–maybe not the way an actual zombie might, but the thought of a rolled out crust crumbling as you try to transfer it to the pie plate can cause many of us to break out in a sweat. I recommend using a crust made with vegetable shortening, even though I know purists might cringe. Yes, a crust made with butter may taste a bit better, but it’s also a bit tricker to make. Shortening has a plastic quality that make rolling out and baking easier for the beginner, and it doesn’t melt as quickly in our hot little hands. Here’s a 10-inch pie crust recipe to try. You can use the proportions of butter and shortening indicated, or just use all shortening. Use Crisco, not an off brand. Also, if you have to patch your crust once it’s in the pie tin, who will know? One thing about pies is that there are way more pie lovers out there than you might think, and that a good pie is a thing of beauty.
Yellow Fellow Pie
(Makes a 10-inch pie)
1/3 cup flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1-1/3 cups milk or half and half
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
10-inch pre-baked pie shell
Note: Be sure to use a 10-inch pie pan. Measure at the top of the pan from inner edge to inner edge.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and add the milk or half and half; stir until combined. Add the lemon juice and peel, and stir until blended. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into lemon mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The center should be springy and set. Cool before serving.
Baking note: I used one large and one small lemon for the peel and juice. Rolling the lemon firmly on the counter will make it juicier. Do not use the commercial juice in the plastic lemons–wish it worked, but it’s just not the same!