Monday, June 26, 2017

Lemon Cream Pie

Back in November, two of my best friends got married (to each other!) in Hawai'i. It was this magical week of jumping off and diving under waterfalls, of eating-way-too-much poke and way-too-little shaved ice, of flower crowns, of sunsets, of driving all over Maui, of writing ukulele love songs after sundown, and of, most importantly, love and friendship. The day after the wedding, my friends and I drove up the coast to a little pie shop right off the highway, Leoda's, and bought a huge box of pies, and in true Hawai'i fashion, took them to the beach to eat. Pie on the beach! at sunset! As I said, magical.

The experience left me with, amongst all the warm and fuzzy feelings about friendships, this immense craving for mini pies. So around about December, I found this recipe for lemon cream pie and whipped up (ha!) mini versions. It makes about three mini pies, and, because I love whipped cream, I doubled the whipped cream portion of the recipe and threw some vanilla bean in. It ended up the perfect little, hand-held ray of nostalgic sunshine cutting through an uncharacteristically dark winter.

Read on for recipe...

Lemon cream pie
for about 3 mini pies
adapted from Pinch My Salt's recipe

3 mini blind-baked pie crusts, using your favourite pie crust recipe

for lemon filling: (I used meyer lemons)
3 large egg yolks
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
freshly grated zest of 1-2 meyer lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice

for whipped topping:
2 tspn unflavoured gelatin
8 tspn cold water
2 cups heavy whipping cream
fine sugar, to taste (the OG recipe recommends about 1/2 cup powdered sugar, but I just usually use regular sugar to taste for whipping cream, since it's so personal of a choice about sweetness.)
1 tspn vanilla paste (or vanilla extract + vanilla bean scrapings, if you don't have vanilla paste)
blueberries for fruit topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 325F. Whisk egg yolks until light, then add condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and stir until smooth. Pour into cooled baked pie crusts and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is set (no jiggle, but no cracks either!). Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate before adding whipped cream, if desired (I'm impatient, so I skipped this refrigeration step).

Sprinkle gelatin evenly over cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, then microwave in short, 5-second periods until the gelatin is dissolved. Let cool briefly. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Then, add gelatin mixture, vanilla, and sugar to taste. Scoop heapfuls of cream on to the cold pies. (or, if you're feeling more proper about it, you can use a piping bag and be all fancy.)


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