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?).
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.