Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just Desserts

Raphaelle Peale, A Dessert (Still Life with Lemons and Oranges), 1814
If one can go by the responses to the dessert photo in my last post, and a very unscientific poll it would be, readers are just wild about sweets in general, and Key lime pie in particular. You know where I stand on the whole topic, give me a second helping of potatoes and you can have my slice of pie. But then, I've never made any claims to normalcy. Even so, I've picked up the dessert fork more often in the past five years or so than I have in all the years preceding them, which are many.
When we left off, our dinner party had retired to the patio to finish off the dregs of wine and enjoy a comforting fire on a cool night. Desserts were served, accompanied by a chorus of oohs and ahs from guests and neighbors alike. The Lone Ranger was host, let's start with his creation first, eh?
Apple Crumb Cake - by the Lone Ranger
  • 2 lbs Granny Smith apples
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ sticks butter
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
Peel and slice apples then toss with ¾ cup sugar and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cut shortening into the flour, ¾ cup sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla, with a pastry cutter (or two forks). Divide mix into two equal halves in separate bowls. To one bowl, add the egg and cut in to combine. Press this mixture into a greased 9x15 baking pan. Spread sweetened apples evenly over dough then drop remaining crumb mixture over apples to cover loosely. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350°F in a pre-heated oven for one hour. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Vanilla ice cream would not suck with this dessert.
The Lone Ranger mixed in some Florina apples with the Granny Smiths. He likes the sweetness they add to the tart green ones. I'd have to say I agree with him. There was a very nice balance to the fruit.  But even after toiling over his apples in front of the television the night before, everybody raved about somebody else's pie. What a bunch of ingrates!
Key Lime Pie
  • 1 doz ginger snap cookies
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice (approximately 12 Key limes)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the crust, run cookies through a food processor until a medium-fine crumb forms. (For a low tech solution, bash cookies in a sealed freezer bag, with a rolling pin until crushed fine.) Mix together with the sugar, then add the melted butter and stir with a fork until fully blended. Pour this mixture into a 9" pie pan and press over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake on the center rack of a 325°F pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly brown. Remove and allow to come down to room temperature on a cooling rack. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl until tinted light green. This takes about 2 minutes. Beat in condensed milk, then the lime juice and set aside at room temperature till it thickens. Pour the lime filling into the cooled crust, spread evenly, and bake at 325° for 15 minutes, or until the center sets but still wiggles when shaken. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla with a sturdy whisk or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. You can use a piping bag and decorative tip for a fancy topping, but whipped cream spread evenly over the filling with a spatula works just as well. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving well chilled.
Even after delivering slices throughout the neighborhood, the Lone Ranger and I were eating leftover dessert for days afterward. Luckily bathing suit season is winding down.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

1 comment:

BigAssBelle said...

omg, your pie had a gingersnap crust!! i am swooooooooooning!!!!

but that apple crumb cake sounds and looks pretty tasty. i've never made one & it's not what i thought it was. i'm an apple crisp girl from way back, though. yum. apples.