Year of the Pie #6 & 7: Extra Rich Lemon Custard & Strawberry Chiffon Pies
Happy Easter! Another two-fer this round, in honor of the Easter holiday and Easter dinner with friends.
I knew I was going to bring a pie for dinner, but arriving home mid afternoon on the Saturday before Easter didn't leave a lot of time. Not to mention the (sometimes) limited selection at the store, and the last-minute trip at 30 minutes before closing. I wanted to make a pie that evoked a sense of spring considering today was cold and rainy (and snowy in parts of VT and NH!). My original plan was to make just the Extra-Rich Lemon Custard Pie. The author describes this as a basic pie that's easy to assemble - just a few liquids to blend.
Luckily I didn't need extraordinary ingredients, just light cream, heavy cream, eggs, a couple of lemons for zest, and (GASP) store-bought frozen pie crust. Recall that I have decided to stay true (mostly, see second pie, below!) to the printed recipe; I was almost ashamed to pull the crust from the freezer case. Next time I'll certainly make my own crust. I already had sugar, and lemon and vanilla extracts in my baking pantry.
The author was right - prep was fast and easy; everything was whisked together, then poured into the crust (which was pre-baked and cooled). It was baked for about an hour, until set. Cooled to room temp, then sent to the fridge with an aluminum foil tent until tomorrow. The recipe recommends a garnish of fresh raspberries. I may add some whip cream, as well.
slightly less than full. hrumph.
I was a bit disappointed in the amount of filling as compared to the crust. Judging by the amount of ingredients, I figured it would at least fill the smaller size crust I was using, knowing the egg yolks would expand a little while baking. I've found that store-bought crusts are generally smaller than standard pie plates, at least the pie-plates I use.
Next time I would either add half-again the filling ingredients if still using the store-bought crust, or double them for filling a homemade crust.
Now, I was feeling a little bummed at how small the pie looked, especially knowing there are going to be 7 or 8 people at dinner. I also had an extra pie crust as the store-bought came as a two-pack, and I wasn't sure I could stand to have it stay in the house very long. A quick survey of the freezer revealed a bag of frozen strawberries. A quick survey of the Pie book revealed a recipe that called for frozen strawberries (as a cost-cutting method). Hooray!
The Strawberry Chiffon pie came from the icebox pie section, meaning no baking. Good thing, since it was already after 8pm, and I didn't want to be up for hours waiting for a pie to bake and cool. I had egg whites, whip cream, and a lemon for zesting leftover from the first pie, so I was able to use those up. I'm so thrifty. The recipe also called for gelatin, sugar, a pinch of salt. The author recommends using frozen berries since they are getting cooked down anyway; no sense in "wasting" fresh berries. He also recommends garnishing with fresh strawberries. . . not sure that's going to happen.
Because this was a last minute addition, I had to take some liberties. . . it called for a chocolate wafer crust and lemonade, neither of which I had. I used the second pie crust in place of the chocolate wafer. Not ideal, as the author includes a note about the combination of chocolate crust and strawberries. Per the instructions of the crust, I pre-baked it, since this pie wasn't going to be baked once assembled. To solve my second issue, I made some lemonade by combining juice from the lemons I had zested with some water and sugar. Again with the thriftiness!
The gelatin and lemonade were set aside to soften while the strawberries were combined with sugar and zest over medium heat to simmer. After they had simmered for a bit the lemonade-gelatin mix was combined with the strawberries, and put into the fridge to set.
Meanwhile the egg whites were beat with a bit of salt and more sugar until stiff, and folded in to the berries. Then the whip cream was, well, whipped, and folded in. The filling was poured into the chilled crust, then covered with an aluminum foil tent and set to chill overnight.
egg whites. . . or whip cream?
basically prepared the same way!
There was A LOT of filling. I'm certain if I'd used the crust recommended, I would have had much less left over. Instead, I have four ramekins of strawberry goodness to enjoy! All in all a productive evening! And hopefully spring will be inspired to show in honor of the pies. . .