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Passport & Plate - lemon cream pie

USA | Thursday, 13 March 2014 | 5 photos

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes- frozen
4 Tablespoons shortening
170 grams all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2-Tablespoons ice water +/-
1- Tablespoons vodka +/-
240 grams sugar
45 grams cornstarch
Big pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest
4 egg yolks
40 grams unsalted butter- cut in small pieces
1 pint Whipping cream
40-gram piece of fresh ginger- cut in thick slices
20-30 grams sugar


How to prepare this recipe
order of steps:
prepare and chill cream (day ahead)
prepare and chill crust (day ahead or morning of)
blind bake crust
make filling
fill crust and chill
strain and whip cream

Whisk dry ingredients in food processor. Add 4Tbs of shortening and process until sandy in appearance. Add frozen butter and process until the mixture has pieces the size of peas to the size of almonds. Mix ice water with vodka and to flour/butter mixture and pulse 5-6 times. (Add more water/vodka mixture if the dough doesn’t hold together when squeezed in your hand) Dump on clean surface and work together into a ball. Don’t over work! Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.
Roll out crust and place in pie pan. Crimp edges and blind bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (I use basket style coffee filters and dried beans to blind bake crusts.) Remove beans and coffee filters, prick crust a few times with a fork and bake 5-10 more minutes until golden brown. Color equals flavor!

Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water, lemon juice and zest in heavy pan over medium heat. Whisk in yolks and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens. Fill baked piecrust and cover immediately with plastic wrap to keep a film from forming. Cool in refrigerator for a few hours.

Heat cream and ginger slices over medium heat until almost boiling. Pour into heatproof container, cover and chill for a couple of hours- overnight is better. When pie is filled/chilled and you are ready to eat, strain the cream to remove the ginger, add the sugar, and whip the cream.

Spoon whipped cream onto pie, cut, serve, and enjoy.


The story behind this recipe
Pie has always been a comfort food for me. It’s the dessert I make for friends and the treasure I donate to fundraising auctions. On Thanksgiving we have one pie per person in our house. Everyone in the family gets to have their favorite. Plus, the day after Thanksgiving is designated “pie for breakfast” day in our home. Where did this all begin?

In a 1970's kitchen in New York’s Hudson Valley, mid-afternoon before a dinner party, young Amy sees the perfectly toasted tips of a lemon meringue pie in the fridge cooling right at eye level. How could a girl resist? She eats all the peaks off before anyone notices, leaving behind a cratered mess for the guests.

I don’t recall the consequences of my first attraction to pie, but I do know that I still feel their draw. That 1970’s pie was made with My-T-Fine Lemon Pie filling and an all-Crisco crust (which my mother still swears by).

Over time, lemon pie for me has evolved, to include a filling made from scratch with lots of zest and fresh lemon juice, more tart than sweet. It needs to make my mouth pucker just the littlest bit. Although the original meringue topping was what attracted me to the pie, I now prefer to top my pie with whipped cream with a hint of ginger. The crust uses a combination of butter and shortening for flake, as well as flavor. The crust should crumble with just enough salt to balance the zing of the lemon filling and the creamy topping - the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

This is the pie I craved and made weekly at the end of my pregnancy with first born. I was living in Milan at the time and had abundant lemons. Later, after moving to Mexico City, I had to search for lemons and stockpile the juice in my freezer to satisfy my desire for pie.

There are so many pies, but I love this lemon one best. My husband likes it with black coffee in the morning, but I could eat it all by itself all day long.

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