Category Archives: pie

Gingered Lemon Pie for Pi Day

Shadow Puppet Pie Theatre!
Welcome to the Pi Day Post! Working with engineers and following Gesine’s blog made me very excited about the possibilities for this day which honors… an irrational number.
Happily, Pi Day this year coincided with a Green-themed Potluck at work, so I wasn’t forced to eat the whole pie myself. (Wouldn’t that have been awful?)
What’s so green about a lemon pie, you ask? Well, lemons are in season in winter, and ginger is easily frozen, making both of these organic choices great ones for this March (even though this winter has hardly earned its stripes). Add in the fact that I was using crushed Ikea ginger cookie leftovers and the final sweetened condensed milk can from a Costco raid a couple years ago, and it becomes also a thrifty and economical use of my pantry ingredients! Ah, happiness found. :-)
I was excited to use such a great recipe from Leah at So How’s It Taste?, whom I met through the Food Bloggers’ Cookie Swap last Christmas. She has crafted a pie with many layers of both lemon and ginger flavor, for a fantastic result! Her recipe follows, with my adaptive tweaks.
Gingered Lemon Icebox Pie
makes 8 servings 12 modest slices

Ingredients:

Crust
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Triple Ikea ginger cookie crumbs (or gingersnap cookie crumbs)
1 tbsp. crystallized ginger
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
6 tbsp. melted butter (could’ve done with 5 tbsp, I think)
Filling
1/2 cup 1/3 cup was fine fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons, mailed from the backyard tree at home in California!)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
zest from 1 lemon

1. For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Blend the cookie crumbs and the crystallized ginger in a food processor until well blended and no unappetizing chunks of the ginger remain. Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl and add the sugar and ground ginger; mix well. Add the melted butter and combine. Press into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.

Down to the bottom after baking, cooling
Up the sides before baking…

2. For the filling, in a small saucepan add the lemon juice and minced ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add the egg yolks to a medium bowl and whisk. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the lemon zest. Strain the ginger lemon juice mixture over the same bowl, pressing on the ginger to release its flavor (save to flavor tea). Whisk all ingredients until well combined.
4. Pour lemon mixture into baked pie crust. Bake at 325°F for 30-35 minutes, until filling is set. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Place pie in refrigerator and let set for at least 3 hours (I made mine 2 days in advance and it wasn’t adversely affected). Serve chilled with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

The behind the scenes shots show my battle array:
From window to wall…
From wall to window!

And from this you can understand why each and every baking effort of mine results in a sinkful of dishes! From Left to Right: egg yolks being whisked, sink starting to fill, open can of sweetened, condensed milk, ginger-lemon juice mixture steeping on a burner, pie crust awaiting filling, zesting accomplished. Phew!

Lots of steps and utensils, but sooo worth it!

Did you make a pie for Pi Day??
Do you have advice about how to stop a cookie-crumb-crust from sliding down while baking?
Are you laughing at the size of my kitchen?

Let me know in the comments so I can laugh along. :-)

And make this pie. You won’t be sorry.

Update

Exciting: I made my very first buttery, flaky crust (just like they show in the magazines) pie crust from scratchy-scratch, even going to the lengths of bypassing the food processor and using a plain old FORK to mix the butter in (only took about 40 minutes). The result:

Yumminess.
That was a week or so ago. Last night’s endeavor was this: Chocolate Zucchini Cake, once again from In Praise of Leftovers. She is SO good. :-) I was working my way through that list of wannabe recipes again, and this one was great. I wanted cookies, but knew that I had no self-control to keep those in the house, so… I went for cake. Only responsible thing to do, right? I brought a third of the sheet in to work this morning. Feedback from coworker was: “not as rich as regular chocolate cake” “lighter” “can’t taste the zucchini” hmm… an interesting experiment, and a pretty healthy one. Here in this photo is the point at which there was no return: had just dumped 2 cups of grated zucchini into all that chocolatey goodness. This is also proof that the zucchini was actually incorporated, for any who might doubt, due to its deliciousness. :-)
But how could this dish HELP but be delicious? Topped as it is with dark chocolate (my alteration) chips and toasted walnuts (and a pinch of espresso powder, since the directions omit when to put it in, and I forgot until the end!- don’t let it happen to you!), I mean really. Finished product, with scavenger at work…

Recap: 1 week ago

So here was my special dinner for my friend Nina, complete with my favorite flowers (that lasted a whole week before falling apart!)- stargazers (lilies).

We had garlic bread from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, corn on the cob, Puy lentils, Greek salad, and beets with a garlic-walnut sauce. I was trying to satisfy any cravings for veggies she might have because her husband doesn’t like them. Plus, it’s all fresh and healthy! in a manner of speaking… what really topped it off was my essay at recreating a Bon Appetit, July 2009 recipe for chocolate-raspberry cream pie- very yummy! And very pink!