I was in the mood for pie, but with no local fruit available yet, I was stymied. Craving a fresh, clean taste, I thought of lemon, but knew I didn’t want lemon meringue. A Google search led me to one of the best pies I’ve ever had: Lemon Sour Cream Pie.
Its charms: easy, tangy with sufficient sweetness, and a hit with everyone, including a 1-1/2-year-old. With a soothing mouth-feel, it’s the perfect dessert after a spicy meal. We had it after Indian food, which we had eaten shamelessly, but as our dinner companion mentioned, “there’s a separate stomach for pie, right?” The balance of lightness, richness, and clean taste make it a winner anytime. I only wish I had come up with the recipe!
The recipe comes from a blog called Inside NanaBreads Head. Click on the recipe header.
It requires a pre-baked pie shell. I followed the instructions in Essentials of Baking, a Williams Sonoma cookbook, which has excellent dessert recipes as well as sections on baking basics with clear explanations and accompanying photographs.
1/ Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your pie crust (click on the link for my all-butter crust recipe) with a heavy-duty foil. Fill the foil-lined crust with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. (I’ve tried dried beans and the rice, and both work fine. I store them for future use.)
2/ Bake the lined crust until it dries out, about 15 minutes. Check by pulling up one corner of the foil. If it sticks, it’s not dry enough yet. Return to the oven and check every 2 minutes. Once dry enough, carefully remove the beans/rice/weights and the foil by gathering the foil edges toward the center and pulling up and out. (Have a heat-proof bowl or pan ready to deliver the foil package to. It’s hot!) Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
3/ Continue to bake until the entire crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool on a wire rack.
As the pie crust cooled, I made the pie filling, allowed it to cool completely (an important step, so be sure to leave enough time). Once the pie is assembled, it should be refrigerated at least two hours.
I topped the pie with homemade whipped cream. I did not try the raspberry jam layer, a variation suggested in the recipe, because the custard was so delicious I didn’t think it needed it.
Homemade whipped cream:
One pint (16 ounces) of heavy cream
Sweetener: maple syrup or agave syrup (I prefer liquid sweetener)
Vanilla – about a teaspoon
Whipped cream is made purely by instinct. Let’s face it: you can’t go wrong.
Freeze the mixer bowl and beater. If you have a whisk style beater, use that. Pour the cream into the cold bowl and put the mixer on the nearest to high setting. (On my KitchenAid, I set it on 8.) You can also whip the cream by hand. While the cream is whipping, pour a thin stream of maple syrup or agave into the cream. Then add the vanilla. Whip until peaks form. If you whip too long, and the cream starts to “churn”, add a little milk and it will return to peaks.
Spread on the pie just before serving, or spoon dollops on individual pieces. Prepare to be popular.