Honey Lemon Chiffon Pie

Well I’ll bee damned.

I’ve gotta tell you,  I said “this probably isn’t going to turn out” to myself at least 17 times as I made this pie. But much to my surprise, the bees wound up looking like bees, the honeycomb pattern looked like honeycomb, the filling set to an awesome consistency, and the Honey Lemon Chiffon Pie… well, I don’t want to be arrogant and say that it wound up perfect, but it tasted pretty perfect to me.

A week ago, I set about making a blueberry pie. It was the beginning off a weeklong flurry of pie making, and planted the seed of an idea in my head. On that sunny Monday morning, making the crust by hand—there was no food processor available, squishing the berries between my fingers because I didn’t see a potato masher in the kitchen, my usual modus operandi, it occurred to me just how happy and at peace I am while making pies.

There’s something different about it than other baked goods. And of course, part of what I was feeling is because of the person for whom this pie was intended, as a belated birthday gift. Perhaps it’s the mystery that shrouds pie making. Perfecting a crust feels elusive to so many people, and the secrets for such are as varied as there are grandmothers to pass down recipes.

Let me just tell you, by the way, I’m no pie expert. I can count on one hand all of the pies I’ve ever made– they’re all on this blog, actually. I still get nervous about making my own crust, and I always worry that using new techniques will leave me stuck in the dark alleyway between “you tried your best” and “at least it’s edible.” I’m convinced that pies can smell my fear.

Still, when I saw the inspiration for this pie I knew I had to go for it– you gotta dream big, after all.

And if I can pull this off, you’re going to absolutely rock it.

This Honey Lemon Chiffon Pie was inspired by The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, who (as far as I know) created the honeycomb-topped pie technique. Can you tell how it’s done? It might look like there’s some craftsmanship involved in making those perfect indentations, but all you have to do is press bubble wrap on top of the pie as it sets in the freezer. How awesome is that?

  • 1 pie shell

For the filling:
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice from 2-3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the meringue:
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. 
  2. Generously sprinkle work area with 2-3 tablespoons of flour. 
  3. Place dough on floured work surface. 
  4. Roll dough into a 13-inch disk and then transfer to 9-inch pie plate. 
  5. Tuck overhanging dough under so the dough is even with the edge of the pie plate. 
  6. Using your index finger and thumb, press a dent on the outside of the dough and repeat all the way around the pie shell. 
  7. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. 
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, until crust is set. 
  9. Remove the foil and weights and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until crust is golden brown. 
  10. Adjust oven to 325 degrees.

For the filling:

  1. Whisk together honey, arrowroot, salt, and water in a large nonreactive saucepan. Simmer mixture over a medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture begins to thicken. When the mixture begins to simmer, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk in zest, lemon juice, and then butter. Bring mixture to a simmer while whisking constantly and continue to simmer for 1 minute until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and place a round piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming.??For meringue: Whisk 1 tablespoons arrowroot with 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer and thickens. When mixture turns translucent, remove from heat. Set aside.
  2. Whisk honey and cream of tartar together in a small bowl. Beat egg whites and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Whisk in honey mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add arrowroot mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until meringue forms stiff peaks.
  3. Remove parchment paper from lemon filling and pour into baked pie shell (mixture should still be hot). Pour meringue on top and using a spatula, spread meringue out evenly on top of filling. Bake for 20 minutes until meringue is golden brown. Cool pie to room temperature and serve.