My life revolves with the seasons. And this year, in Virginia, we are having all of them, and we are having them all distinct and strong. Sometimes our winters are sad showings of rain and offensively warm days. And sometimes our winters are robust and white. And sometimes those winters bleed straight into an April heat, moving from cold and wet to heart-stopping high temperatures and humidity. This year, winter was winter and spring has been spring. Our AC has been off for weeks, my sandals have been dug out from the back of my closet, and we have begun eating outside. Granted, we eat outside with brevity and candles and sweaters. And few things represent this season of awakening warmth more to me than pie. I don’t have much care for sweets– I was born mysteriously without a sweet tooth. That spot was replaced by a palate for all things salty and briney. Despite my ambivalence towards sweet, I love to bake. But one pie I’ll eat every time, with joy, is a lemon chess pie. It’s the pie that turns my lights on, makes me realize, “This is why everyone else is so big on that sweets thing.”

It’s easy to make, tangy to the tongue, and makes so many friends happy. In a word, perfect.

To make the pie, mix 2 cups sugar with 1 tbl of almond meal, 1 tbl of flour, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Then, add 4 eggs (beaten), 1/4 c butter melted, 1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 c evaporated milk, and 2 tbl lemon zest. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 30 degrees. Pull out of the oven when its still a tiny bit wiggly in the center. Dust with powdered sugar if you’re into that sort of thing. Let sit, practice your patience, then dive in.

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