Wild Lemon Pie

We were prowling pastures horseback, me and my wife and granddaughter, when we saw a splash of white, I mean really white, blossoms on a large green bush with the most wicked thorns. The fragrance was like orange blossoms. That bush has always been called Limón or wild lemon, but I now find that the real name is trifoliate orange. I don’t know if it’s a true native, but it grows all over the Central Texas. The fruit is like a lemon: yellow, thick-skinned, mostly seeds, but with a tart acid flush. It ripens in late summer, long about county fair time.

Last year we (my granddaughter and her aunt, my daughter, and my friend Carlos) decided to make a pie of it. We tried to enter it in the fair, but it requires refrigeration, and that’s not available at the county fair. Well, as it turned out, it was mighty like a lemon meringue pie, and it didn’t last long around here. We all enjoyed it–really fast. You might try it if you live where this bush grows.

Wild lemons, inset: the squeeze process, the pie without the meringue, the pie with the meringue.
Photos by Clover Cochran

We made a pie crust (actually with gluten-free flour) and partially baked it. Then we squeezed a couple dozen of the hard little lemons to make juice, and added sugar and cornstarch and cooked it down to a pudding. We poured the pudding into the pie shell and slathered it with meringue made with our friends egg whites and some cream of tartar and sugar, and baked it till the meringue was slightly browned.


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