Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm Martha Stewart, Bitch!

...but really, I did use a recipe out of her pie book. It even looks like it worked. It seems to have worked so well that I'm still suspicious. I don't even know why I fixated on this recipe, maybe because to me, it looked like an impossible pie. I'd used the crust recipe before, here it is:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter
3 T sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
4 T very cold water

Cut the flour, sugar, salt and sugar together until the biggest butter globs are about the size of rice grains. I mix the water with the egg yolks before adding it to the flour, but it's not crucial. Don't over-work the wet dough! Just smash it together enough to get it all evenly combined. There's enough butter in it to make it act just like play-doh. This makes enough pastry for a 2-crusted 11 inch pie. I only have an 8 inch pan, so I've got some extra. You can make the dough ahead of time and chill it until you need to use it, if you want.

Ok, well and good. But the filling sounded too simple to be true. It goes like this:

2 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs and 1 egg white

Cut one lemon into paper thin slices, rind and all. Cut the rind and pith off the other lemon, and slice it as thin as you can. Toss the lemons with the sugar and cover, leave it in the fridge for about 24 hours. The next day, preheat the oven to 450. Roll out your crust, beat the eggs and mix them with the lemons & sugar, and pour it into the pie shell.  Weird, huh? There's no fat or starch in the filling, it's all about the eggs.

I can't say I had high hopes about this. I was sure the filling would do something awful. But it seems to have set up, unlike many other pies I have attempted in the past. I will say though, that you need to use a mandoline to prep the lemon with the rind on it. Don't try to make pretty slices, nobody will see it anyway. The idea is for the long period of soaking in their own juice to de-bitter the rinds. A good sharp knife is fine for the other lemon.

Top it with another round of crust. I cut the slashes in the crust before putting it on the pie, the filling is totally liquid so if you want decorative cuts you gotta do it first. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, turn down the heat to 375 and cook for another half hour. I lay a sheet of tinfoil over mine after the first 15 min because this crust recipe tends to get burn-y faster than crusts without added sugar.

It's like a big lemon bar, with a little texture. Next time, I'm gonna add some herbs. I bet lavender flowers, or rosemary, or mint would be pretty good.  Maybe even oregano.

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