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Lemon Chess Pie With Blackberry Sauce

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 cup melted butter
Zest of a lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Partially baked 9-inch pie pastry shell (recipe follows)
Blackberry sauce (recipe follows)
Pastry stars
Whipped Cream
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Beat the eggs lightly. Beat in the sugar, salt, buttermilk, cornmeal and melted butter and mix until smooth. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and nutmeg.

Pour into the warm, partially baked pie shell and bake until the custard is just set, about 30 to 35 minutes. The center will still be jiggly. The pie will continue to cook after it has been removed from the oven.

Cool to room temperature before serving.

Present the pie with sauce and berries on one side, whipped cream stuck with pastry stars on the other, a shower of confectioners' sugar and mint sprig.

Pie Shell and Stars

1/3 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (we used Crisco)
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whirl coconut in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Combine coconut with flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Add water a tablespoon at a time, tossing the mixture with a fork.

Form the pastry into a ball and roll out on a floured board or between sheets of waxed paper. Fit pastry into a pie pan. There will be a generous overhang. Cut off excess with scissors and reserve the scraps. Flute the edge of the pie shell.

Brush the pie shell lightly with the egg wash. This will make a seal so that the crust stays crisp. Using the tines of a fork, poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. The shell will be partially baked.

Roll out the remaining dough. Sprinkle with sugar. Using a canape or small cookie cutter, cut out stars. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees about 5 minutes. Watch them closely as they burn easily. Makes about 14 to 20, depending how thick the leftover dough is rolled.

Blackberry Sauce

2/3 cup blackberry jam
1/3 cup blackberry syrup
1/2 pint fresh blackberries

Combine jam and syrup in a small saucepan. Warm and whisk until smooth consistency is reached. Cool and store in a jar. When ready to serve, spoon the sauce beside the pie. Add a few berries to each serving.

Adapted from the Morrison-Clark Inn by Marlene Parrish

Thursday, April 13, 2000

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