Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mrs. Rob Hardin's Lemon Chess Pie

I told you so. Don't you just love being able to say those words? Well, I did, I told you so. I told you that pies are full of memories and histories, they are baked and served with love, they evoke visceral responses in people, and yes, oh yes, I love pie!! Well, seems I'm not the only one. Everyone who read  I LOVE PIE was either really hungry, or else had such deep memories stirred up by pies that it evoked a hearfelt response. Thank you for sharing your memories.  I felt compelled to share at least one of the responses with all of you, and. besides, you'll get a really good recipe out of it!

At this point I must insert the following disclaimer (especially since the sender of the email is an attorney!)

All stories contained in this blog are actual events. The names and dates have NOT been changed to protect the innocent. If the author has used your real name, it's because she likes you and wants to record your story for posterity. In the event the author does not like you, your name has been changed to obliterate the memory of you and to protect the innocent who have to put up with you.

Now that all the legal hurdles have been cleared,  I offer for your reading and eating pleasure, the following discourse on Mrs. Rob Hardin's Lemon Chess Pie.

Dear Beth,

If you do the pie dinner anytime soon, this is one of the easiest and best desserts. The receipe was given to me by Mrs. Rob Hardin of Foote Street. She made 2 of the pies when my mother had a horrible wreck in December 1973, and it hit the spot then and for me continues to do so now. Mrs. Hardin was a remarkable lady. She managed the cafeteria of Foote Street school, and of course was given a set menu to follow. I've been told that she would make the meal more palatable by bringing or purchasing other ingredients, and the Foote Street cafeteria, while still school food, was known to be better than any around. Being very naieve, I really didn't know that during that era, you just didn't ask a lady for the secret of one of her special dishes and so I asked her directly for the receipe. Mrs. Hardin ,without blinking, said it was very simple and she would gladly share how to make the pie and that it doubled easily (doubled? it will triple, quadruple, etc) and since then, I think of her every single time I put it together then pull that wonderful aroma from the oven.
      I can remember my grandmother and great aunts saying, "Do you remember that wonderful __________(you fill in the blank) that Mrs. X used to make? It was wonderful, but she would NOT share the recipe. Now she is gone and so is her (casserole, pie, cake, etc.)."
     But thank goodness Mrs. Hardin was not of that ilk, and though she died many years ago, sweet memories of her linger, literally, whenever you  take that first bite of this wonderful pie. I have had to plan dinners for local events and so it has served over 100 at one seating. It works just as well at  "fancy" dinner parties, and as it is economical to make, I serve it at the Wednesday night dinners at Chester ARP. The best piece is that horded last sliver that is left in the pan, the one you get to savor all by yourself ,and find that yes, yes yes it is ....still delicious.
     You are welcome to use or share the following receipe, there is one requirement however. If you share the recipe with others you must always call it MRS. ROB HARDIN'S Lemon Chess Pie, and if given a chance, tell that she was a true southern lady who possessed a great love for others. I've certainly built this one up, but as it has served so many, and always gets such wonderful reviews, I do so with no fear or trepidation. Your meal sounded, as one of my great aunts used to say, "truly goo-may. " Now finally, after all that build up, the receipe for one (but I always at least double it as the pie crust comes in twos) And yes I used Pet Ritz and am proud to say I do"!


3/4 of a stick of REAL UNSALTED Butter. SOFTENED but not truly melted if possible (the fake stuff won't work) and don't be generous and use a full stick the pie won't set if you do, trust me, trust me on that one.
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
juice of two small lemons
dash of salt
unbaked prepared pie crust (not deep dish) -PetRitz ,my choice, at room temp, which you have pricked the bottom a few times with a fork

Combine the sugar and the butter, do not over cream, leave a few large lumps of butter (it makes the pie prettier)

Add the 2 eggs one at a time and stir together

Add the juice of the lemons and the salt

Give it a quick stir and pour onto the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about a half an hour or until the pie is a beautiful golden brown with yellow hightlights.

Allow the pie to cool so it will set, overnight is just fine.

Serve and slice (I always seem to not be able to serve the first piece as it breaks up as I serve it, but no matter, that poor first piece can go on a separate plate. Stick it  in the refrigerator (waste not want not) and save it for a later time.

I really did not mean to go on forever about this very simple pie.......but then your blog made me want to share my most bestest pie story and receipe with you.--------------------

WLD Bill Marion

Thank you, wild Bill, for a delicious recipe and a wonderful pie memory. Let us all have a moment of silence in memory of Mrs. Rob Hardin, who was gracious enough to share her recipes. Her memory will linger in every delicious bite.  I LOVE PIE! And evidently, I am not alone.

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