1 (9 inch) unbaked deep-dish pastry shell (**I use a ready made graham cracker or shortbread crust)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*If using an unbaked deep-dish pastry shell:
1 Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.
2 In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; add remaining sugar. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter, lemon peel and food coloring if desired. Gently stir in lemon juice (do not overmix). Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Do not stir.
3 In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and lemon juice. Refrigerate 1/2 cup for garnish. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture into shell; top with lemon filling. Chill overnight.
4 Place reserved cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag with a #21 star tip; pipe stars onto pie. Store in the refrigerator.