Sunday, June 13, 2010

June Birthday(s)

Yesterday I turned 28, and it was lovely. I am usually indifferent to numbers, but this year I am delighted! The number 28 is very sophisticated and integrated, and because now I am officially 28, I think the year has much good potential.

Stick with me here. The number eight is a contouring, continuous line. It crosses over, loops, meets its end to its beginning. It is the symbol for infinity. It is a balanced, even, and positive number, and I claim it! This is the year of integration, balance, poise, beauty, and contoured discipline. I photographed my newly organized bookshelf to show just what I mean.

I am learning to see and remember in color. No more grouping the food books in one spot and the poetry in another. They are integrated. Oh yeah, I am incredibly inspired.

I was so inspired that I began my birthday and this whole next year by making pies. I needed to redeem myself from a previous mishap in the pie mother's birthday lemon meringue pie. I started too late and then forgot to refrigerate it so the center was still warm when I served it, and something went awry with the meringue. I am fairly sure I whipped the life-force out of it. A complete failure. Sorry mom. At least at first it looked good.

When we cut into it though, I knew its true nature.
Sadness incarnated.

The meringue collapsed, and...

the warm insides went oozing everywhere.

I think I have redeemed myself. I made a lemon-almond pie and a chocolate cream pie. (Actually, I started the cream pie, my dear mother finished it.) The chocolate cream pie was such a surprising hit that I never got a full picture of it. Just this measly one.

The important thing to know is that they both tasted delightful, and there was no oozing about anywhere. I wouldn't have thought chocolate cream pie would be so sought after. In fact, I had a terrible time finding a recipe. None of my usual online resources had what I wanted. I will give you that soon-to-be perfected simple and traditional chocolate cream pie recipe. Because everyone needs one. And I am all about the practicality of the frivolous. If that makes sense.

The almond-lemon pie was not originally layered. It began as a mishap months ago, when I forgot to add the almonds to the lemon filling. I ended up breaking open the oven after 20 minutes of it baking (and a nice baked layer on top had already formed)when I had finally remembered the almonds. I then stood there finger-stirring the almond mixture into the still-liquid lemon and egg mixture. I was so careful though to not scrape the bottom of the pie that I didn't stir it deep enough and it created the much-loved layered effect.

Don't mind the orange fencing around the lawn in the background...
pretend it is pretty ribbon...that's what I do.

Layered Almond-Lemon Pie (adapted from Pies and Tarts, by Martha Stewart)

one deep 9-inch unbaked pate brisee pie shell.
6 eggs 1 cup sugar
juice and grated rind of 4 lemons
11/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

Put the almonds, almond extract, and reserved 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are very finely ground. Set aside.

Combine the eggs and 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl and whisk by hand until the mixture is pale and thick and forms a ribbon. Add the lemon juice and rind, vanilla, and the butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Divide in half. Pour one half into the chilled pastry shell, and combine the other half with the almond mixture. Carefully layer the almond batter on top of the lemon-egg mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the pie begins to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for approximately 25 minutes more, until the filling is set. Remove the pie to a rack and cool before serving at room temperature. If you refrigerate, let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Note, this pie is delightful with softly whipped cream, sweetened with a small amount of sugar and a few drops of almond extract. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Oh dearest Amanda, I can just imagine your eyes lighting up! You make me look forward to turning 28! Oh, beautiful day!