Dennis Weaver & Debbie Frantzen
Chiffon pies are ethereal--light and dreamy, refreshing, melt-in-your-mouth affairs. They are perfect for summertime as well as anytime a light, less-filling dessert is desired.
We set off to find the best chiffon pies. Mostly, it was Debbie’s project but she and I (Dennis) collaborated and, as usual, she did the photography and I did most of the writing.
A requirement of chiffon pies is gelatin whether it be unflavored or commercial brands with flavor and sugar such as Jell-O®. We concentrated on recipes using unflavored gelatin so that we could experiment with flavors and fruit and adjust sweetness to taste. We gathered stacks of chiffon pie recipes from books and online and segregated them into categories:
We made pies for four days and tweaked the recipes until they were scrumptious. When we found a winner, we ran slices down to the store to see how well customers liked them. We’ll share our findings with you including the best recipes.
We wanted great recipes as well as methods for adapting other fruits and creating new chiffon pies. We continued to experiment with variations and answer the following questions:
We made pies with cooked fillings and without. We made pies with and without eggs. There weren’t any types that we didn’t like however, we liked some better than others. Some were certainly quicker and easier to make than others. This is what we found:
We found that by using a base recipe we could substitute different fruits. Depending on the type of fruit and its ripeness the sweetness and flavor differ. We simply tasted the filling along the way and increased the amount of fruit or sugar to achieve the taste we wanted.
Softened cream cheese can be whipped and added to many recipes. It adds a nice flavor, richness, and mouth feel. Our favorite recipes included sweetened condensed milk. Our testers preferred recipes that included either or both sweetened condensed milk or cream cheese.
You can also make chiffon pies with frozen fruit juice concentrates. The fruit juice concentrate didn’t pack the flavor punch we expected however a quarter cup of lemon juice sharpened the flavor and made very nice pies. You will find included a recipe for a raspberry guava pie made with fruit juice concentrate.
The Right Equipment
Use a 9-inch springform pan—with a glass base. Sure, you can make most of these pies in a deep dish pie pan but you won’t get show stopping neat slices from a pie pan like you will with a springform pan with a glass base. Peel the ring off and cut slices right on the glass base.
Most of these pies were made in a Candy Apple Red Silicone Springform Pan. Some were made in a nonstick springform pan. We much prefer the silicone pan. The silicone ring peels off like a candy wrapper. While it’s not necessary for these pies, we love the leak-proof double seal on the silicone pan.
We use Wonder Cups all the time and this no exception. The adjustable measure is accurate and the slide of the inner cup cleanly and quickly deposits the ingredients into the bowl without digging and scraping.
A selection of whisks is nice. We used a large balloon whisk for knocking lumps from the filling and a small bell-shaped whisk for heating and dissolving the gelatin mixture.
Here are our resulting favorite chiffon pie recipes. Consider these as types and experiment with different fruits, fruit juice concentrates, and the addition of cream cheese.