Could Anything Be More Perfect for Valentine’s Day?
Lemon flavored, but creamy. Roasted strawberries somewhere in the mix. That’s what I had in mind when I started thinking about this pie. I knew I wanted to use the Meyer lemons I had, but you could also use regular lemons and it would still be delicious.
There are several ways you can go about making a lemon cream pie, and I decided I only wanted the filling to be lemon curd with a little bit of whipped cream added to make it more creamy and to lighten up the texture a little. That was easy. The day before I served the pie I made up a big batch of lemon curd and let it chill. I used both Meyer lemon juice and regular lemon juice because I wanted it to be more tart than if I had only used Meyer lemons.
I love what lightly roasting does for the flavor of strawberries and have had better results with frozen strawberries rather than fresh ones. Roasting them intensifies the strawberry-ness, so to speak. So, I simply roasted them with sugar and a little black pepper. The pepper enhances the flavor without dominating it. After they were roasted, I stirred in a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar because they needed more kick. Again, I made these the day before and chilled them overnight.
I’ve made David Lebovitz’s French Tart Dough many times. It’s a very easy press-in crust that is made by placing a bowl of butter, oil, water, salt, and sugar in the oven. When the butter starts browning around the edges, you remove it from the oven, stir in the flour, let it cool a little and press it into a tart pan. Well, this time I used a deep dish ceramic pie dish. I had to increase the amounts due to the size difference and when I went to press it into the dish, it slid down the sides. I rectified this problem by popping it into the fridge for about 10 minutes. It then stayed put.
It is important to completely fill up the lined dish with pie weights. They need to go all the way to the top of the dish in order to keep the sides of the dough in place as it bakes. I’ve found that this works best by using non-stick aluminum foil to first line the shell. This way it doesn’t stick to the crust when you remove the pie weights. This type of crust is very different than a normal pie crust. It’s more crumbly and tender. I thought it would be a good match for the type of pie I had in mind.
After the crust had baked and completely cooled, I spooned in the cream filling and let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours before finishing it up. Lightly sweetened whipped cream, to which I added some sour cream for stabilization, was spooned on top and then topped with the roasted strawberries. I held back most of the syrup from the strawberries and spooned a little on each individual serving.
As you can see, this doesn’t produce nice clean slices. Instead, the topping ends up looking like an Eton Mess (which I also happen to love). It may not be the neatest slice I’ve ever seen, but it is absolutely delicious and is the best lemon cream pie I’ve ever eaten. But don’t take my word for it, give this one a try and you’ll see what I mean.