Waiting on the kitchen counter when I arrived in Seattle again last week was a copy of The Art of Pie by Kate McDermott. My daughter had borrowed it from a friend of hers in hopes of inspiring me. No surprise there, it worked. I told her to pick out a couple for me to try, but her husband spoke up with a request for Banana Cream before she had a chance to say anything. Using coconut milk for the pastry cream and dark rum in the caramel was inspired and it will probably get it own blog post sometime. But my 8-year-old granddaughter loves lemon anything so we also had a lemon meringue pie. She didn’t like it. She thought the zest in the filling made it “too weird.” I promised to do better next time.
Being winter, the season of sitting on my duff for months, I didn’t want to experiment and have lots of lemon pies around. My crusts are fine, meringue is easy, so the only real work needed to be done on the filling. A parfait! There are Meyer lemons in stores now so that was the start, and in place of a baked crust we could use graham crackers, and then some whipped cream instead of meringue. If you’re using Meyer lemons the full amount of sugar called for makes the curd very sweet, especially paired with whipped cream. You might want to scale that down to 1 or 1¼ cups instead of 1½. I’ll still have to work on Jasmine’s version, though, since this curd has zest in it too.
— Joan, 23 February 2017
Lemon Pie Parfait
- 3-4 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1½ cups sugar (may use only 1-1¼ cups if using Meyer lemons)
- ½ cup (1 stick) room temperature butter, cut into pieces
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch of kosher salt
Zest the lemons into the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir in the sugar and mix on low speed till the zest is totally incorporated into the sugar. Add the butter and cream together with the sugar/zest. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding another. Mix in the lemon juice and salt.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches at least 170°F. I cooked it to 190°F because it didn’t seem very thick yet and that was enough. Set aside to cool and then refrigerate, covered, till ready to assemble.
Graham Cracker crumble:
- 8-9 honey graham crackers (1 whole sleeve)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Break the crackers into the bowl of a food processor and process until they’re crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to blend. The mixture should be sandy, just moistened by the butter, not clumpy. Set aside. Extra can be frozen.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill the bowl and beater whisk for at least 30 minutes. Pour the cream and sugar into the chilled bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in the vanilla.
Alternate layers of graham cracker crumbs (not too many), lemon curd, whipped cream, ending with whipped cream topped with a light sprinkle of crumbs and a twist of lemon peel. Serve chilled.