08 April 2010

You Want Pies with That?

Recently I joined a really cool little baking group called You Want Pie with That. Hosted by the dynamic duo of Jessica, of My Baking Heart, and Amy, of Sing for Your Supper, the group bakes one pie a month that has been decided on in the previous month. After several months of being on hiatus, these two lovely bloggers got together and revamped the old site (which can be found here) and picked a pie theme for April. Can you guess what it is?

Spring! With the grass finally turning back to its verdant shade of green, the flowers blooming, and the fruits and veggies peeking the little heads out of the grounds and trees, spring has finally sprung in Oklahoma (and hopefully most of the northern hemisphere). To be completely honest I prepared two pies, each of which did not become what I had originally planned. I had every intention of making a pie version of a Pavlova, but then it got a little too humid around here, and I just knew my meringue was going to end up sticky (nothing worse than a sticky meringue, amirite?).

What I ended up with were two very similar pies with different lemon bases. One was a lemon posset and the other was a lemon curd/cream. My very stressed out coworkers got treat to the lemon posset pie while my family got the lemon cream for Easter. I topped it with fresh fruits and just served it cold, perfect for the warm weather we've been having. Below is the recipe for the one my family had and a link to the lemon posset in case you want to try that too. On a separate note, I've joined three other blogging groups so expect some more posts in the coming weeks that are based on challeneg recipes. I'm so excited!

Lemon Cream

1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons (I used 5 small ones)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 4-5 lemons
2 sticks plus 5 Tbl unsalted butter, cut into Tbl-sized pieces, at room temp
  1. Have an instan-read thermometer (I just used my candy therm), a strainer, and a blander or food processor (I used the food processor, but Dori recommends the blender) at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
  2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heat-proof bowl that can be set over the pot of water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic (I did this step with a ziplock bag, and it worked great). Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
  3. Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with a whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the cream until it reaches 180F on an instant-read thermometer, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling (this takes quite awhile, but son't get discouraged, it's well worth the time). It'll start out light and foamy, then the bubble will get bigger, and as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken.
  4. As soon as it reaches 180F, remove from heat and strain it into your blender or processor; discard the zest. Let the cream stand at room temperature, stirring occassionally, until it cools to 140F (the book says about 10 minutes but it was much quicker for me since I had to work with a small strainer).
  5. Turn the blender or processor to high and, with the machinerunning, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides as needed as you incorporate the butter (do I need to tell you to turn the machine off before scraping?). Once all the butter has been added, allow the machine to run for 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create and air-tight seal, and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Before using, stir a few times with a whisk to loosen it.
As promised, the link for lemon posset, which was really light and a little sweeter then the cream, can be found here. This one was really easy and only used three ingredients.


Honey Mim said...

That looks tasty. Wish I could've been there to try it out.

Deelish Dish said...

Oh wow, that looks incredible. Might have to take down this recipe for a 4th of July BBQ or something. Spring is here but summer is near too!

Megs said...

Woah, usually I'm not much of a custard girl, but that looks delish. Once berries come in up here (still a few months... sigh) I'll be looking baking this one!

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

These pictures are gorgeous... makes me want a slice right now!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh this looks delicious! All that fresh fruit is perfect for spring! :)

Nichi said...

beautiful! very springy!

Sweet and Savory said...

That fruit is so tempting. Great pie.