Thalheimer's Lemon Chess Pie
Scholar and cookbook author Jessica B. Harris's good friend Karen Finley shares her family recipe for buttery, silky, and lusciously tart lemon chess pie. The recipe is modeled on one that Finley remembers from her childhood in Richmond, Virginia, where a lemon chess pie from Thalheimer's — a local department store — was on the cafeteria menu. For years, her family would buy and ship Thalheimer's lemon chess pie across the country every Thanksgiving. Eventually, Thalheimer's went out of business, and the family spent years trying to recreate the beloved dessert. Finally, Finley says, "My sister-in-law, Regina, joyously sent out the proclamation that she had finally found the winner — and she had! She sent this recipe to all of us and we've been enjoying it ever since. We save it for holidays or special occasions. It's always a big hit." Harris is among the many lucky friends of Finley's who have enjoyed this Lemon Chess Pie — she loves to include it on her dinner party menus at her summer home on Martha's Vineyard. It's easy to see why the pie is such a hit: The flavor of the filling is similar to a lemon bar, but a touch sweeter and with some pleasant texture from floral lemon zest.