Introduction: Empathetic Design Project: Café-ish Lemon Pie (or Lime Pie)

Due to the COVID-19, my family’s favorite sweets store has closed. They served amazingly delicious lemon pie, but we cannot have it. So, I tried baking it few weeks ago. Usually, my mother cooks and bakes for my family. Since my father, dog, and I am staying at home for whole day, she needs to take care of everyone without enough free time. I heard that she was arguing about her back pain, so I decided to bake the lemon pie by myself while she was relaxing. However, I failed baking it for several reasons: I couldn’t locate a kitchen scale, I burned the corn starch in the pie filling, lemon peel was too large, etc. Finally, my pie ended up with good visual and bad taste.

So, in this article, I would like to introduce an appropriate way to bake the awesome lemon pie with explaining the points to make note of, because I don’t want you to make same mistakes as I. As well as baking the pie, I would like to organize the cooking tools, so that I don’t have to spend time to look for a kitchen scale next time when my family use the kitchen!



Pie Crust
- 1 Frozen Pie Crust

- 2 Egg White
- 50g Sugar
- Half a Freshly Squeezed Lemon*

Pie Filling
- 2 Egg Yolk
- 50g of Sugar
- 25g of Corn Starch
- 250cc Milk
- Whole Peel of 1 Lemon*
- 30 cc of Juice of Lemon*
- 60cc Heavy Cream

*Use only 1 lemon to prepare those ingredients.
*The lemon can be replaced as a lime, too.


    - 2 Bowls
    - 1 Pan (Deeper One is Recommended)
    - 1 ~ 2 Measuring Cups
    - 1 Kitchen Scale
    - Weight for Baking (you can use rice/beans as a weight)
    - Whisk
    - Electric Hand Mixer
    - Parchment Paper (Baking Paper)

    Step 1: Empathetic Research

    For me, the empathy means considering and taking care about someone else. This project is all about it. My mother said this is abnormal that both my father and I are in the home on weekdays. At the time when I went to physical school, my mother didn't need to prepare my lunch. She was enjoying yoga and golfing as her exercises, during her free time. However, due to the COVID-19 issues, online classes began, and I am not allowed to go outside other than exercises. According to my father, my mother’s back pain got worse because what she needs to do in one day was increased. She was doing yoga in my house because of the temporary closure of the fitness club, but recently, she cannot spend her time to do yoga.

    Not only the back pain, I could make an assumption: my mother seems a bit tired. I cannot tell specific difference, but I can feel the difference, although she replied that she was not tired when I asked my mother if she was tired. I recalled when I said I am tired, my mother got me sweets and snacks. So, I thought I should do same thing to her. I have another concern about my mother. The kitchen supplies are generally organized, yet it is just generally, not completely, so she took a little time to find what she needed. I can clean up and organize supplies while I bake.

    Step 2: Preparation

    While you are baking the pie crust, let's make the pie filling.

    Before you begin anything, measure all of the ingredients and put into the bowl, cups, dishes, etc.

    It is EXTREMELY important to use a kitchen scale.

    If you rolled the lemon, you can squeeze the lemon juice easily.

    Step 3: Bake the Pie Crust

    First of all, you need to preheat the oven to 200˚C (392˚F). Make sure the oven is empty.

    Next, put holes on the frozen pie crust using a folk (This process is called piquer).

    Then, put a weight on the center of the pie crust.
    For example, you can use rice as a weight. Some people use beans.
    Put a parchment paper (baking paper) on the pie crust, and then add a cup of rice.

    Place the pie crust in the oven, 200˚C for 10 minutes, and 180˚C (356˚F) for 15 minutes. (Yes, you bake twice!)

    Step 4: Make the Pie Filling

    In the bowl, mix following ingredients; egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and 25 cc of milk.

    Next, warm the lest of milk to 35˚C (95˚F). My recommendation is to heat up the milk for 30 seconds in the micro wave. Pour heated milk in the bowl and mix all together. Use whisk in this process.

    Then, transport the mixed ingredients into the pan to boil it. STIR IT.

    After your pie filling is boiled, turn off fire. Add the lemon juice, lemon's peels, and heavy cream.

    The lemon's acid and milk cause chemical reaction and mixed ingredients will be pulpy.


    !!!!! MY MISTAKE #1 !!!!!
    Make sure you stir the ingredients in the pan. Every other preparations need to be done before you begin anything. When I baked the pie before, the corn starch was roasted because I was peeling the lemon and forgot to stir.

    Step 5: Make the Melange

    I believe this is the hardest process.

    Grab a CLEAN and DRY bowl, and put egg white into it.

    Use a dry electric hand mixer to mix the egg white. Move your hand rapidly.
    The speed setting of the hand mixer must be fastest.

    When the egg white became like formed soap, add sugar in 2 to 3 parts.

    When the foam got firm and stable, add lemon juice.


    !!!!! MY MISTAKE #2 !!!!!
    It is difficult, but you must separate egg yolk and egg white.
    Only a few amount of egg yolk cause failure.
    Also, if the heat and moisture involved in the egg white, the melange will not be produced.
    Use a clean and dry hand mixer, and mix the ingredients extremely quickly.
    When I baked the pie previously, I used a wet whisk, and laced with a little bit of egg yolk, so I couldn’t make melange.

    Step 6: Baking Time

    Pour the pie filling that you made into the pie crust.

    And then, put the melange on the top of the filling.

    Bake the pie in the oven with 200˚C for 8 to 10 minutes.
    When the melange is partially roasted, you are done with baking!


    Step 7: Clean Up

    Before you eat...

    Don't forget to clean up all the tools you used!

    My recommendation is to clean up during you are waiting for the outcome of the pie.

    Wash them with soap, and put them back to where they are supposed to belong.

    This might be a good timing to organize your cabinets and shelves in the kitchen.

    Step 8: Enjoy!

    Finally. The Time Has Come!

    Enjoy your pie with your family, friends, neighbors, etc.

    The pie only lasts for 2 to 3 days, so you need to eat as quickly as possible.

    Baking one pie requires long time and hard effort.
    I would like to say thank you to my mother, who usually cooks and bakes everyday.

    First Time Author Contest

    Participated in the
    First Time Author Contest