Been quite a winter. I’ve made savory soups and stews, succulent short ribs, pan after pan of roasted root vegetables, butternut squash risotto and cheese grits with applewood smoked bacon (yeah, the grits were fabulous). Then all of a sudden this week I started to yearn for a little sunshine on my plate. There are days in the dead of winter when we all need a little brightening up. I was looking for blue sky, cheerful colors and smiling faces. But when it was all said and done, what I really wanted was a slice of lemon cream pie.
I wanted comfort food and sunshine all on one plate. And this lemon cream pie was the answer. It’s not formal and perfectly formed like my Classic Lemon Tart. No, this is home style. There’s no fussing or crust crimping – just a simple, crunchy shortbread crust. There’s also a cool lemon pudding, imperfectly piped whipped cream, and a lick your fingers goodness that will have you looking forward to dessert as soon as you put it in the frig to chill.
My pie didn’t take long to make, or to work it’s magic. Sous chef boy gave me a big smile and a hug when he saw it and asked when we were eating dinner. Sunshine from a teenager. It made my day.
Lemon Cream Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
1 prebaked Tart Shell Crust baked in a 9-inch pie pan (recipe below)
4 large egg yolks
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup corn starch
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 packed teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons pure lemon extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Beat egg yolks in large bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar a little at a time and continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add corn starch and salt and beat until well blended.
- Bring milk to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat while you are beating the egg yolks.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add hot milk to egg mixture in a thin stream. Quickly scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix at medium speed until well blended.
- Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wire whip, until it comes to a boil and thickens. Lower heat and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon rind, butter and lemon extract.
- Put custard in medium bowl or plastic container to cool. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming over surface and chill in refrigerator. When no longer warm to the touch, pour into baked crust and refrigerate until cold.
- To make Topping: Combine heavy cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla in large bowl of electric mixer; beat until stiff peaks form. Use pasty bag to pipe sweetened heavy cream around edges of pie. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold.
Can be made one day ahead. Store in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days of baking.
Food Philosopher’s® Gluten-Free
Tart Shell Crust
Makes one 9-inch pie crust or one 9-inch tart crust.
1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease 9-inch pie pan or tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Generously dust with rice flour.
- Combine flour, sugar, and xanthan gum in large bowl of electric mixer (or food processor). Add butter and mix (or pulse) on low speed until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix well. Gently press into bottom and up sides of pie or tart pan (if you pack the dough too densely, the crust will be hard to get out of the pan. If you pack it too loosely, the crust will be a bit crumbly).
- Bake in center of oven for about 18 minutes or until light golden. Cool on rack in pan. For a tart, place pan on top of a broad glass and carefully push down sides then slide onto a serving plate (it will be easier to slide it off the metal bottom when it is cool). For best results, remove pan sides and bottom once tart shell is filled and chilled.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days of baking.
*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.