Guest Editors

Four & Twenty Blackbirds' Lemon Chess Pie

By • November 14, 2013 • 116 Comments

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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.)

Jump to Comments (116)

Tags: lemon, pie, pie week

Comments (116)

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over 1 year ago John

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

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over 1 year ago Daphne Manning

Boysenberry double crust, great color , sweet and tart

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over 1 year ago Luc Paul

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

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over 1 year ago Nicole

Chocolate pecan! So rich and delicious

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over 1 year ago maggie

Apple pie.

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over 1 year ago Elisa B

Huckleberry and cream cheese with a graham cracker crust

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago lynne

O love anything lemon everyday of the year.

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over 1 year ago Becca Ann Entenberg

Pumpkin pie!

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over 1 year ago Jessica

Apple pie!

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over 1 year ago Hildy kenealy

Sweet potato pie !

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over 1 year ago Chris Gaugler

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

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over 1 year ago AdeleK

Apple Pie, stacked high

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over 1 year ago constance

classic apple pie!

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago alme

Pear and Cranberry Tart

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Kevin Campbell

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

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over 1 year ago Bex Kramer

Apple pie with crunch topping

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago SEASPRAY

Ahhh, pumpkin is gotta be my favorite followed by pecan

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over 1 year ago mullimack

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

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over 1 year ago Lydia

Pumpkin!!

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over 1 year ago Jackie

I love a sweet potato pie.

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over 1 year ago leia

Pumpkin Pie is traditional for this time of year.

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Rosanne Iacono

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

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Meatmaven

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

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over 1 year ago Spork

pumpkin!

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over 1 year ago Barbara Pepelko

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

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over 1 year ago janice

Chocolate pecan pie is the best!

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over 1 year ago Susan

Pecan pie is my go to favorite.

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over 1 year ago Susan Adams

Pumpkin chiffon pie in a praline shell!

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over 1 year ago pattyk

Egg custard is still a favorite

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over 1 year ago DanHInVA

Pumpkin pie - could have it every day!

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago DDo

Pumpkin pie with brandied whipped cream!

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over 1 year ago Cela

My fav is orange meringue. It rocks!

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over 1 year ago marybjt

apple pie followed closely by pumpkin!

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over 1 year ago maila

Sour cream raisin.

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over 1 year ago Mary Ann Crimmins

My favorite pie is Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie with Walnuts.

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over 1 year ago Margo

Pecan Pie is my #1

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over 1 year ago leangdamang

I love mincemeat pie

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over 1 year ago Royce

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

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over 1 year ago Jen

apple pie with oatmeal crumb topping

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over 1 year ago Irenehope

Apple pie! Any time of year.

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over 1 year ago janecf

Pumpkin! Have been experimenting with using butternut or hokkaido.

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over 1 year ago Marygrace

Hands down ~ apple pie

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over 1 year ago mikomiao

key lime!

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over 1 year ago Victoria

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

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over 1 year ago Maryse

Sweet potato pie! It's my Thanksgiving staple.

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago J.B.

Pumpkins Chiffon Pie also works!

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over 1 year ago SusieR

Have to agree with rum raisin apple pie

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over 1 year ago OurSeason

Rum raisin apple pie is my fave.

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over 1 year ago Ellen Goldberg

Salted caramel apple pie or mince pie.

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago kattreats

pecan is my new favorite.

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago andie

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

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over 1 year ago Sarah

Always and forever pumpkin pie

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Tenaya

mmmmm….chocolate pecan

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over 1 year ago Daisy

Chocolate pecan for sure

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over 1 year ago Corinne

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

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over 1 year ago Chris Lentz

Pecan Pie made with Lyle's Golden Syrup

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over 1 year ago summersavory

pumpkin, definitely.

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over 1 year ago Jen Owens-Locke

Roasted pumpkin with coconut milk. So good!

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over 1 year ago Heather Scharbach

Pecan. And cranberry apple!

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over 1 year ago Sietske van Schaik

Sweet potato pie with whipped cream. Oh yes.

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over 1 year ago Jen

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

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over 1 year ago deb_boyce

Elderberry pie!

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over 1 year ago jamcook

Chocolate Pecan

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over 1 year ago cchandler

Cranberry apple

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over 1 year ago Chef Neen

grapefruit pistachio tart

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over 1 year ago Boulder Butter

Lemon Curd or buttermilk pie are my favorites!

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over 1 year ago Hannah Robie

Pear and cranberry with a Gingersnap crust!

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over 1 year ago TerryMtz

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

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over 1 year ago easantillo

Lemon meringue is my favorite!

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over 1 year ago Kathy McCrae

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

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over 1 year ago Farbodd Ganjifard

Pecan through and through.

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago A. Clark

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

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over 1 year ago Bascula

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

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over 1 year ago Ryan Ochsner

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

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over 1 year ago June Nylin

lemon curd pie!

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over 1 year ago olivia

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

Missfatscat

over 1 year ago missfats

Pecan pie!

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over 1 year ago Ashley

Pumpkin pie is the best!

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago hemlockcreek

pumpkin pie made with a variety of our homegrown winter squashes

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over 1 year ago cfelten

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

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over 1 year ago Tracie

pumpkin pie!

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over 1 year ago Laura

pumpkin pie, with lots of whipped cream

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over 1 year ago sarabclever

pumpkin pie, of course.

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over 1 year ago elizaee

pumpkin pie!

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over 1 year ago Lara

Cranberry Pie

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over 1 year ago monica_m

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

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over 1 year ago Ricky

Cold apple pie,

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over 1 year ago Miss Frizzle

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

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over 1 year ago Cindy Wong

Egg custard pie.

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over 1 year ago lmikkel

Pumpkin pie!

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over 1 year ago adrienne

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

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over 1 year ago walkie74

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

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago katie

dark chocolate pecan pie is my favorite winter treat

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over 1 year ago Liz

Strawberry rhubarb

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over 1 year ago Maddie

I love a pumpkin pie in the winter!