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Four & Twenty Blackbirds' Lemon Chess Pie

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For #PieWeek, our guest editors are Emily and Melissa Elsen, the pie mavens behind Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY. They will be sharing recipes all week from their first cookbook, and giving away a copy each day!

Today: A winter pie that still manages to be bright and tangy.

Lemon Chess Pie on Food52

Lemon Chess has garnered a close following in our pie shop. It appears most often on the menu during the winter months, when fresh fruits are scarce on the East coast and we source from the West coast for its bounty of citrus. This tangy but rich custard is a longtime favorite of our pie shop customers. 

Lemon Chess Pie 

Serves 8 to 10 people

Zest of 1 lemon
1 2/3 cup cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 large eggs
2/3 cups heavy cream
7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Gentl & Hyers

To win a copy of The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, tell us in the comments: What is your favorite winter pie? We'll pick winners at random at the end of the week! (Unfortunately, we can only ship domestically.)

Tags: lemon, pie, pie week

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Comments (116)

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almost 2 years ago John

I love a good Sweet Potato Pie! One that's made with lots of love!

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almost 2 years ago Daphne Manning

Boysenberry double crust, great color , sweet and tart

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almost 2 years ago Luc Paul

Apple, piled high as possible with lots of cinnamon and lemon.

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almost 2 years ago Nicole

Chocolate pecan! So rich and delicious

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almost 2 years ago maggie

Apple pie.

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almost 2 years ago Elisa B

Huckleberry and cream cheese with a graham cracker crust

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almost 2 years ago Paula Robins

Well, let's see. . . Anything Pear. No, wait. How about Kentucky Derby. No, wait.
Maybe an unusual cheesecake, but, then again, citrusy is luscious. Oh, boy. Pretty much all of them!

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almost 2 years ago lynne

O love anything lemon everyday of the year.

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almost 2 years ago Becca Ann Entenberg

Pumpkin pie!

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almost 2 years ago Jessica

Apple pie!

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almost 2 years ago Hildy kenealy

Sweet potato pie !

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almost 2 years ago Chris Gaugler

Black bottom shoe fly pie, the gooey-er the better!

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almost 2 years ago AdeleK

Apple Pie, stacked high

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almost 2 years ago constance

classic apple pie!

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almost 2 years ago Chip_Head

Pecan pie (from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book) made with and fool-proof double-crust pie dough (uses vodka in recipe for a flakier pie crust). Time intensive but worth every minute.

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almost 2 years ago Tara McPherson

My granny's pecan pie -- it's a full-on nostalgia rush (or perhaps it's the sugar...)

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almost 2 years ago Lori Mullican

Favorite winter pie would have to be chocolate...any kind of chocolate pie will do, but a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top is a must.

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almost 2 years ago alme

Pear and Cranberry Tart

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almost 2 years ago Terri J Moore

For savory pie it's a French version of shepherds pie, for Sweet version it's gotta be buttered apples drenched in cognac and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

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almost 2 years ago Blake

Growing up in the South, my favorite was pecan. Now that I live in Southern California, my favorite is actually Lemon Chess - made with local Meyer lemons. Of course, what pie isn't good?

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almost 2 years ago Dorothy Massey

My favorite winter pie is Mince Meat pie. However, since I am the only one in my family who likes it, I hardly ever make it. My bad luck.

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almost 2 years ago Kevin Campbell

I'm a pumpkin pie fan, but willing to try them all!

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almost 2 years ago Bex Kramer

Apple pie with crunch topping

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almost 2 years ago Margaret Hunter

The housekeeper of my former boss made a sweet potato pie that was the same texture as a chess pie but with lemon flavoring instead of the usual spice. It was divine and she wouldn't give us the recipe. Such a shame cause I would have always called it "Louise's Sweet Potato Pie" and remembered her every time. Never understood not sharing you recipes. I need to figure this out!

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almost 2 years ago SEASPRAY

Ahhh, pumpkin is gotta be my favorite followed by pecan

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almost 2 years ago mullimack

I love, love, love pecan pie!!!!! Well made, it's a JOY!

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almost 2 years ago Lydia

Pumpkin!!

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almost 2 years ago Jackie

I love a sweet potato pie.

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almost 2 years ago leia

Pumpkin Pie is traditional for this time of year.

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almost 2 years ago Don

Many memories of having my mom take out huckleberries she had picked in the summer and making a pie for Christmas Eve dinner!!! A great tradition I carry on to this day.

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almost 2 years ago Rosanne Iacono

My favorite winter pie is sweet potato. Always a hit at Thanksgiving.

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almost 2 years ago Nick Lewis

My favorite winter pie is chess pie! My mom used to make it all the time and I haven't had a really good one since I was a kid!

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almost 2 years ago Meatmaven

My fav winter pie is meat pie; mincemeat works too.

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almost 2 years ago Spork

pumpkin!

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almost 2 years ago Barbara Pepelko

My favorite winter pie is a cranberry/apple pie. Very yummy!

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almost 2 years ago janice

Chocolate pecan pie is the best!

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almost 2 years ago Susan

Pecan pie is my go to favorite.

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almost 2 years ago Susan Adams

Pumpkin chiffon pie in a praline shell!

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almost 2 years ago pattyk

Egg custard is still a favorite

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almost 2 years ago DanHInVA

Pumpkin pie - could have it every day!

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almost 2 years ago Andshewas

Bourbon pecan for me, but I end up making buttermilk pie because it reminds my husband of his mom who passed during the holidays years ago,

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almost 2 years ago DDo

Pumpkin pie with brandied whipped cream!

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almost 2 years ago Cela

My fav is orange meringue. It rocks!

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almost 2 years ago marybjt

apple pie followed closely by pumpkin!

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almost 2 years ago maila

Sour cream raisin.

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almost 2 years ago Mary Ann Crimmins

My favorite pie is Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie with Walnuts.

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almost 2 years ago Margo

Pecan Pie is my #1

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almost 2 years ago leangdamang

I love mincemeat pie

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almost 2 years ago Royce

Oh, it's got to be Pumpkin this time of year but banana cream all year

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almost 2 years ago Jen

apple pie with oatmeal crumb topping

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almost 2 years ago Irenehope

Apple pie! Any time of year.

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almost 2 years ago janecf

Pumpkin! Have been experimenting with using butternut or hokkaido.

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almost 2 years ago Marygrace

Hands down ~ apple pie

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almost 2 years ago mikomiao

key lime!

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almost 2 years ago Victoria

Pecan! Well, that's my favorite any time of year. :)

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almost 2 years ago Maryse

Sweet potato pie! It's my Thanksgiving staple.

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almost 2 years ago Susan N.

My favorite pie is pumpkin pie. I could eat it all year long. Thank goodness for canned pumpkin!

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almost 2 years ago J.B.

Pumpkins Chiffon Pie also works!

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almost 2 years ago SusieR

Have to agree with rum raisin apple pie

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

almost 2 years ago OurSeason

Rum raisin apple pie is my fave.

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almost 2 years ago Ellen Goldberg

Salted caramel apple pie or mince pie.

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almost 2 years ago J.B.

In winter the construction, then consumption of "sour cherry" pie utilizing canned or frozen fruit delights my DH. My Meyer Lemons are ripe and ready for lemon pie too! Yum!

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almost 2 years ago Leaf

I really love a well baked apple pie with a homemade butter crust that sparkles with sugar but of course I will always love a pumpkin or blackberry pie!

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almost 2 years ago kattreats

pecan is my new favorite.

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almost 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

I am in the citrus camp too. In the winter, I most often reach for meyer lemons and key limes to flavor my pies and tarts. I also still long for summer fruits in the winter, so often I will bake one of the frozen pies from my stash in the refrigerator -- currently I have both raspberry pies and rhubarb pies in my freezer, both made with fresh fruit picked from my garden this summer. :)

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almost 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

Oops -- typing too fast: the line above should read ". . . so often I will bake one of the frozen pies from my stash in the freezer. . ."

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almost 2 years ago andie

Peanut butter pie. I think it's a mid-western thing.

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almost 2 years ago Sarah

Always and forever pumpkin pie

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almost 2 years ago Meghan

I've always been smitten with my grandma's apple pies- but only hers. It was the first recipe she ever taught me, and to this day I recall the magic I felt when she exposed to me her 'secret ingredient'. And to this day, I use it in my own pies, but they're still never good as hers.

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almost 2 years ago Tenaya

mmmmm….chocolate pecan

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almost 2 years ago Daisy

Chocolate pecan for sure

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almost 2 years ago Corinne

A rice pie or grain pie! South Philly-style.

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almost 2 years ago Chris Lentz

Pecan Pie made with Lyle's Golden Syrup

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almost 2 years ago summersavory

pumpkin, definitely.

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almost 2 years ago Jen Owens-Locke

Roasted pumpkin with coconut milk. So good!

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almost 2 years ago Heather Scharbach

Pecan. And cranberry apple!

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almost 2 years ago Sietske van Schaik

Sweet potato pie with whipped cream. Oh yes.

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almost 2 years ago Jen

I love southern carmel pie; I have never found this pie anywhere except at our family gatherings.

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almost 2 years ago deb_boyce

Elderberry pie!

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almost 2 years ago jamcook

Chocolate Pecan

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almost 2 years ago cchandler

Cranberry apple

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almost 2 years ago Chef Neen

grapefruit pistachio tart

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almost 2 years ago Boulder Butter

Lemon Curd or buttermilk pie are my favorites!

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almost 2 years ago Hannah Robie

Pear and cranberry with a Gingersnap crust!

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almost 2 years ago TerryMtz

My favorite winter pie is chocolate/bourbon pecan. I love David Lebovitz's recipe!

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almost 2 years ago easantillo

Lemon meringue is my favorite!

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almost 2 years ago Kathy McCrae

Warm sweet potato with homemade whipped cream, a la mode!

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almost 2 years ago Farbodd Ganjifard

Pecan through and through.

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almost 2 years ago Dominika Ujlaky

Sweet potato pie is my new favorite for this year. With warm spices, and a torched fluffy marshmallow meringue. Yum!

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almost 2 years ago A. Clark

Mm, I love an apple pie served with cheddar cheese.

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almost 2 years ago Bascula

I like a Marlborough (applesauce) pie once in a while. Easy to make with wintery ingredients~

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almost 2 years ago Ryan Ochsner

Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie... or classic pumpkin pie.

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almost 2 years ago June Nylin

lemon curd pie!

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almost 2 years ago olivia

pecan pie... i'd eat it every day if it weren't so fattening

E0b2b81a-c4c1-4399-a5a1-92f2347fc3e8--missfatscat

almost 2 years ago missfats

Pecan pie!

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almost 2 years ago Ashley

Pumpkin pie is the best!

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almost 2 years ago Kate

PECAN! It has the best texture, tends to be less sweet, and is a southern tradition (pronounced pih-CAHN).

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almost 2 years ago hemlockcreek

pumpkin pie made with a variety of our homegrown winter squashes

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almost 2 years ago cfelten

In the winter I love pumpkin, pecan and dutch apple pies. This, however, might be a new contender.

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almost 2 years ago Tracie

pumpkin pie!

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almost 2 years ago Laura

pumpkin pie, with lots of whipped cream

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almost 2 years ago sarabclever

pumpkin pie, of course.

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almost 2 years ago elizaee

pumpkin pie!

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almost 2 years ago Lara

Cranberry Pie

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almost 2 years ago monica_m

Pumpkin pie with a good amount of ginger it. Best kinda pie this time of year.

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almost 2 years ago Ricky

Cold apple pie,

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almost 2 years ago Miss Frizzle

I can never get enough of warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

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almost 2 years ago Cindy Wong

Egg custard pie.

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almost 2 years ago lmikkel

Pumpkin pie!

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almost 2 years ago adrienne

Dutch Apple Pie and Sweet Potato Pie...mmmmm. Perfect for breakfast, lunch and midnight snacking

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almost 2 years ago walkie74

Pecan pie. I rarely get it anymore, now that the whole family has health issues *sigh*

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almost 2 years ago laurenspacek

in the winter my pies tend to shit more towards the savory persuasion. i love chicken pot pie in the winter. for dessert i continue to make apple pie year round. i just can't stop. it's my favorite regardless of the season.

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almost 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Do tarts count? If so, this one: http://food52.com/recipes... inspired by the Sicilian wedding cake known as "Cassata," which my mother often served at her December holiday dinner parties and open houses. For a true pie? I must confess that during the dead of winter, I go to my pantry and grab a quart jar of blueberry pie filling, canned in July or August by me within an hour or two after picking the berries from the bushes lining my front walkway. I also have a wonderful bourbon buttermilk chess pie, sweetened with just a touch of molasses, that I developed years ago; Toward the end of the baking time, once the custard has firmed up, I top it with pecans that have been roasted in a bourbon syrup. It's perfect with the Brunswick Stew (squirrel free, I might add) that's been a Christmas Eve tradition in my very southern husband's family for generations. ;o)

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almost 2 years ago katie

dark chocolate pecan pie is my favorite winter treat

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almost 2 years ago Liz

Strawberry rhubarb

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almost 2 years ago Maddie

I love a pumpkin pie in the winter!