In a little over a month from now, it will be springtime here in the South. Many of us are looking forward to the upcoming season and the warmer weather. If you want to get a head start in celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of a new season, whip up some desserts that will put you in the mood for spring. Lemon is a classic flavor and nothing goes better with lemon than lime. Eggs are the main ingredient in fluffy meringues, and eggs are symbolic of springtime, creation, new life, and Easter. These desserts feature the elements of lemon, lime, and eggs, and they are so simple and easy to make. The lemon chess pie is an old-fashioned Southern variation, and although the key lime pie does not include a baked meringue topping, you could certainly add one to it. If you can’t find key limes at your local supermarket, then use a good quality bottled key lime juice. If you make the key lime pie, the recipe calls for four egg yolks, and, instead of throwing away the egg whites, make a meringue topping for the key lime pie, or freeze them in ice cube trays or freezer bags to use at a later time. Better yet, you can take the egg whites and make some sugar-pecan meringues—two desserts instead of one!
Lemon Chess Pie
• 1 deep dish frozen pie crust
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1 TBSP. all-purpose flour
• 1 TBSP. cornmeal
• 3 large eggs
• 3 TBSP. salted butter, melted
• ½ cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
• Zest of one lemon
• Powdered sugar
Bake the pie crust according to the package directions, but not as quite long, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cornmeal, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix well and pour into the cooled crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. At the 25-minute mark, if necessary, place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the entire top to prevent the pie from browning too much. Place on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and chill until ready to serve.
Key Lime Pie
• 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
• ½ cup key lime juice (Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice brand)
• Garnish: whipped topping
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the key lime juice. Allow the mixture to sit on the counter for at least 5 minutes; this will allow it to thicken slightly. Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped topping.
• 4 egg whites
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 3 TBSP. sugar
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 cup pecans, chopped
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the sugars, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract and pecans. Drop with a rounded tablespoon equal amounts onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and sprayed lightly with oil. Bake at 225 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Makes 3 dozen. Store in an airtight container.
— Amy Fischer lives in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a Southern food enthusiast who loves to spend time in the kitchen creating tasty recipes. You can contact her at facebook.com/MySouthernTable.