Lemon Velvet Pie

My first pie post this year is something out of my Farm Journal’s Best Ever Pie Cookbook published in 1981.  My dear sister Margie gave it to me a long time ago and I have baked a number of sweet pie treats out of it. This is a lemon pie but unlike any I have ever made.  It is called a lemon velvet pie.  I think of it as a puffy lightly lemon cloud of a treat.  Impressive and delicious. It has a lot of elements to it but no step is that difficult to conquer. It might strike you as the offspring of the union of a chiffon pie and the venerable and much loved lemon meringue pie!  Anyway, it is melt in your mouth delish and delicate especially if you make it with Meyer lemon as I did.

Per my New Year’s promise I did cut the sugar down quite a bit.  This filling is naturally gluten free.  My wheat eating friends can use a regular pie shell to make this treat.  I am betting it might be also great with my cookie/tart pie crust. This pie will be the talk of your next gathering if you whip it up!

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Lemon Velvet Pie

 

2/3 cup of sugar (can add another 1/3 cup if you like it sweet)

6 tbsp. corn starch

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups cold water

2 eggs separated

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. lemon zest, grated fresh

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. (1 packet) unflavored gelatin

¼ cup cold water

1 cup light cream

A baked 9 inch pie shell

1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar

 

Directions; bake the pie crust and let cool. See any of my past pie blog posts for a crust recipe.  I bake it about 20-25 minutes until it is light brown.

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in 1 ½ to 2 qt saucepan, stir in water, cook over medium heat until it thickens and mounds when dropped from a spoon; stirring constantly. Might take up to 5 minutes.  Stir a couple of spoons of it into the two stirred up egg yolks. Add right back into pan and stir well, cook 2 minutes on low stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter, stir, add the zest, lemon juice and vanilla, stir well. Remove one cup of filling and set aside.

Soften gelatin in the cold water for 5 minutes.  Add to the remaining hot filling in pan, stir to dissolve it.  Gradually stir in light cream, cool slightly to firm a bit.

Beat egg whites until firm and glossy, using electric mixer at high speed.  Fold into the pan of cooling filling.  I used a rubber spoonula. Pour mixture into baked pie shell, Refrigerate 15 minutes.  Top with the remaining cup of plain filling you set aside.  It will be thick; I put small spoonfuls all over the top.  Chill in fridge at least 2 hours to set the pie.

Whip the cream, add some sugar to sweeten lightly and serve slices with big dollops of cream on top. Velvety lemon delight on a plate.

Originally posted in January 2016, minor text changes, no recipe changes.

 

Lemon Honey Flourless Cake with Candied Lemon Slices

Cake….always a party pleaser.  I enjoy it on special occasions but confess it is not one of the things I am good at baking, never was even when I could use regular flours.  And don’t get me started on the birthday cake curse I am crouching underneath.  But sometimes you just need that fancy dessert that serves a crowd and makes everyone happy.  This cake is fairly easy to make, is gluten free and has great lemon flavor. The honey is more of an undertone. Each bite has a satisfying texture due to the almond flour, not heavy but not light with a lovely moisture built in from the honey and olive oil. The tiny bit of potato starch helps make that great texture. No butter either; extra virgin olive oil does the trick. Make sure your eggs and whites are all at room temperature for maximum loft when whipped.

The candied lemon slices take a bit of effort but look great on top. I know I was happy with the results when I bit into my slice of yummy cake!

This recipe comes from Food Network’s test kitchens and I made only minor changes, used slightly less water making the syrup as it seemed too thin even after simmering 20 minutes and no pomegranate seeds for on top; it is spring and pomegranates are a fall fruit. I looked; none to be found. I used a half pint of fresh raspberries and they were perfect – added great color and flavor.

If you can get Meyer lemons they are recommended because of their awesome flavor but I used the usual ones from the grocery store and they worked out fine. I thought the candied slices were tasty although a couple of guests who didn’t much like lemon skipped their candied lemon while still enjoying the cake itself.  It is a very impressive looking cake with a tender moist texture. Extra syrup on top is a tempting option!

I put all my pictures together in a chunk; they can be annoying sprinkled through out the recipe when you are trying to make it.  I often use my tablet to make my own recipes straight off my blog posts so I know what I am talking about here!

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Flourless Lemon Honey Cake with Candied Lemon

Ingredients

¼ cup EVOL plus more to grease pan

1 ¾ cup almond flour plus more to dust the pan

1/3 cup potato starch

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup honey

3 lemons; two zested and juiced and the third sliced very thinly

4 eggs separated

2 egg whites

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract

Chopped or slivered almonds; ¼-1/3 cup

½ pint fresh raspberries

Directions:

Brush the sides and bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan which you lined the bottom with a round of parchment paper; brush with EVOL and dust with almond flour.  Put rack in middle level in oven.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix flour, starch and salt in medium bowl.  Combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, lemon zest, 4 egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract in mixer bowl.  Mix on medium high until creamy; about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, beat in the flour mixture just until blended.

In a separate clean bowl beat the 6 egg whites until foamy, about a minute.  Gradually beat in ½ cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, 3 minutes maybe 4.  Gently fold about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, and then fold in the rest of the whites until just barely incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly; 50-55 minutes.  Place pan on a cake rack to cool completely.

While it is baking you should make the candied lemon slices.  Put the slices in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer over high heat; maybe 3 minutes.  Drain, return to pan and cover with fresh water, repeat the heating.  Do this three times total. It gets the bitterness out of the unpeeled slices. Put the slices back in the pan; add the remaining ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, the lemon juice of the two lemons and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer over high heat, reduce heat to medium, cook, stir occasionally.  Cook until lemon slices are tender and the honey liquid is thickened; becomes like a syrup; about 20-25 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Unmold the cake: run a knife around the edge of the pan, remove pan.  Flip cake to take off parchment paper.  Place on a serving plate.  Use a fork to remove the lemon slices from the syrup and brush the cake all over with some of the lemon syrup.  Then decorate the cake with them. Sprinkle with the raspberries and pass the leftover lemon honey syrup along with the cake.

Serves 8-10.

Lemon Meringue Pie Heaven

This pie is old school delicious.  This is my mom’s bastardized version of a Betty Crocker recipe and made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can more than double it if you are a sweet freak.  I have never met a man who didn’t love it, well…maybe one. My friend Russel doesn’t care for anything with lemons. But his wife Claire adores lemon so this pie is for her and Mom…and my brother Christopher who often requests this pie when he is in town.

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If I have them, I always use Meyer lemons for this recipe.  Your pie will have a delicate flavor – so light I sometimes call it lemon cloud pie!  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be difficult to find Meyer lemons and pricy too.

I have never gotten my mom to admit it but I am positive she added extra egg whites to her meringue.  Her pie was towering with the white fluffy stuff unlike my nearly level pie made with just three whites.  It is up to you how impressive you want your dessert to look. But if you have company you might want to go for the big bang of a four- five egg white meringue topping for maximum wow power!

My mom added the corn syrup to replace some of the reduced sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  Don’t make this pie on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftover pie in the fridge. It doesn’t keep more than two days but frankly none of it ever lasts more than two days.

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Thickened cornstarch, sugar and water mix all stirred up.

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Baked pie crust.

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Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

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Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line a 9 inch pie pan with it.  Make sure you get the middle nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 375 for 10-12 minutes until light brown.  Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to ¾ cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped pie.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let it melt as you stir. And then stir in the lemon juice and zest. Glug in some corn syrup. Pour the hot lemon filling into the pie crust.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature (avoid drafts while it cools) and then chill your masterpiece for 2-6 hours.  Slice and serve. Makes six-seven lovely slices.

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This slice is from the second day; we were in a feeding frenzy and forgot to take a picture when the pie was cut and served. It is a tad weepy from the passage of time.

Meringue topping

three egg whites (or 4-5)

¼ tsp. cream of tarter (or 1/2 tsp)

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Directions:

Beat the three whites and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix  (same as King Arthur blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Lemon Marmalade Is A Fantastic Topper

Greek yogurt is the latest power dairy snack, favored by teachers, moms, office workers and many others seeking a portable tasty yet healthy snack.  I eat it too.  But sometimes I want a more basic, yet way above average, yogurt.  My little secret for great yogurt is the brand; Stonyfield Organic.  I buy the large 32 ounce container of plain unflavored; cheaper than small ones and I can use a bit for cooking and the rest for lunch or snacks.  I usually get the one percent low fat yogurt.  Organic milk makes amazingly creamy flavorful yogurt, far superior to any made with non-organic milk.

Occasionally I treat myself to Stonyfield’s whole milk yogurt. This is thick, creamy and oh so delicious.  The top layer is like cream yogurt; crazy yummy!  I eat a dish of this yogurt with fresh jam, all that jam that I don’t eat on toast anymore.  I know, whole milk. But sometimes you have to enjoy the best that life can give you and frankly experts say that non-fat yogurt is less healthy than yogurt with some fat.  Go on, live wild and try this fabulous organic yogurt.

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You can also enjoy this yogurt with honey drizzled on top.  Sprinkled with my homemade granola it is very healthy, filling, and delightful tasting.  It is also a great topping for apple crisp, smooth delicate flavor to match with the spicy crisp.

My latest version is with homemade lemon marmalade spooned on top.  Simple, clean tasting and tangy, a perfect after work snack before doing afternoon tasks.

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Here is the lemon marmalade recipe if you want to whip up a batch.  It is much in favor with my friends and family. Great on toast too.  I bet it will taste great made with regular lemons too.  It is pretty easy to do; lots of chopping up lemons and stirring the preserves as they cook.  But the effort is well worth it as the lemony flavor is outstanding and buying some at a store will set you back quite a bit for a small jar. Yours will have more fruit in it and less stuff; two ingredients if you don’t count the water!  Make your jam reputation on this winter treat!

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Lemon delivery from my brother Robert in Texas. Yumm!

Meyer lemons are very fragrant and have a less sour taste.  The rind is quite edible. I make candied lemon peel sometimes after making lemoncello.  That is another blog post though!

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Ingredients

6 or 7 Meyer lemons (1 1/2 pounds)

4 cups water

4 cups sugar

Special equipment:

Cheesecloth or small fabric bag to put seeds in

Kitchen string

The day you can it up:  you will need 6 half pint Mason jars, heated to boiling in a big pot of water.  Along with the lids and rings also heated.  The lids must be new ones.  You shouldn’t boil them more than a few minutes; turn down to low.

Directions:

Halve lemons crosswise and remove seeds and reserve them. Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag.  Combine with bag of seeds and water in a 5-quart nonreactive heavy pot (I use my cast iron enamel coated pot) and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature 24 hours.

Bring lemon mixture to a boil over moderate heat. I leave the seeds in for this part too.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 45 minutes. Remove seeds; let the liquid drain off into the pot; full of pectin so your marmalade sets up!

Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 25 to 40 minutes.  I scoop out any seeds that got in by accident!

Ladle hot marmalade into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of top. Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids and rims.

Put jars in a water-bath canner or in a deep pot. Add enough hot water to cover jars by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Boil jars, covered, 5 minutes and transfer with tongs to a rack. Cool jars completely. The lid should vacuum seal within minutes of you setting them to dry and cool.

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This is two batches together. That white stuff is gf flour mix on my cutting board.

I like to let it ripen for 3 or 4 weeks before opening a jar. The jarred marmalade keeps a year in a cool dry place out of the sun; basement shelf works great.

Any extra marmalade that isn’t enough for a jar goes in the fridge and gets eaten within a few weeks.  Original recipe came from epicurious. com.

 

Lemon Squares, Very Tasty

I strongly believe in seasonal eating and winter is the season of citrus so more power to the lemon! As mentioned previously, my brother sent me a big box of juicy Meyer lemons from his tree down in Texas. I also believe in making my own treats; truly they are a lot healthier than store made sweets.  I have made lemon meringue pie, lemon shortcake cookies, lemon buttermilk tart and this weekend I made some lemon marmalade. Last night we enjoyed lemon squares, gluten free and very dainty with the special flavor of Meyer lemons.  Of course, you can use the regular lemons available in the store; will be a tad sharper/brighter in flavor but they will work great.  lemon squares 008u

These cookies are very easy to throw together; I made a shortbread cookie style gf press and bake crust and the filling ingredients are whisked together in my mixer and poured into the partially baked crust.  So easy to make and I wanted something light and delicate after all the fancy holiday desserts.  You would never guess they are made without all purpose wheat flour.  Anyone will love them if they are a fan of lemon. Take these to your next gathering, they will be scarped up pretty fast, and you will be seen as a real baker. Best of all you are eating a safe treat that is relatively guilt free; no gluten, no preservatives, not that much sugar compared to a cake and homemade flavor. Score!

Meyer Lemon Squares

 Cookie Tart Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mixture (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold butter cut up into 6 or 7 chunks

Directions for crust:

Mix the dry ingredients with a stand mixer, add the butter, blend with the paddle blade until the butter is small pebbles.  Press into an 8 inch square pan, be sure to first spray the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with rice flour.  Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  While it bakes make the filling.

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Baked cookie crust

Filling

3 large eggs, warm them close to room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice

2 tbsp gf flour mix

2 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs until fluffy, add the sugar slowly but steadily, mix, add rest of ingredients, Mix until smooth.

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Adding the lemon zest.

Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 min; until set.

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Just out of the oven.

Cool completely and refrigerate if you want to serve them cold. They do not freeze well and only keep about 3 days, if any square are left that long!   I like to sift some powdered sugar on right before serving them. Use a sieve and about 2 tbsp. powdered sugar.  Luscious lemony goodness can be yours with minimal effort.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is from Annalise Roberts; Gluten – Free Baking Classics, a fantastic source for baking gluten free treats, full of recipes just like  your old wheaty friends but so so much safer!