Lemon-Lime Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

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Let’s bake a pie. No pie dough involved, so no excuses. Just an easy cookie crust, filled with a sweet-tart pudding and a crown of berries. This pie is as flavorful as it is colorful. It’s the kind of dessert you mourn when the last piece is gone.

Here are a few tips to ease the pie preparation. First, use your food processor to mix all the crust ingredients. If you don’t like crystallized ginger just leave it out. It’s your crust and you have options. And use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to gently press the crumbs evenly into the pie plate. No fuss no muss. Now the filling. I love lemon and lime, but you can use any citrus. You can even use bottled juice if you want. Not saying I recommend it, but heck, it’s your pie. Just be careful to temper those egg yolks and not scramble them. When I instruct “slowly” I mean pour a tablespoon or two at a time.

love a clean slice

The topping is about the easiest thing on the planet to make. Just make sure you bring it to a low boil and let it go for at least a minute to properly thicken. Those wild blueberries are like precious jewels and while I enhanced them with sweet huckleberry preserves you can choose any berry preserves you like. Remember, it’s your pie. The preserves replaces sugar and adds a little something extra in flavor.

Lemon-Lime Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

  • Servings: 8 to 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Crust

2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (only reason I buy girl scout trefoils)

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger

Optional add-ins: ¼ cup flaked coconut, ¼ cup toasted nuts

Filling

1 cup milk, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

3 egg yolks

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¾ cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 lime

1 cup 5% fat Greek yogurt (I use Fage brand)

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

Topping

2 cups wild blueberries, fresh or frozen

½ cup Huckleberry preserves (you may substitute elderberry or blueberry)

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Heat oven 350F. Pulse all the crust ingredients in a food processor until combined. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. For the filling: In a heat-proof bowl or large measure with a spout, whisk ½ cup milk with cornstarch until blended. Add egg yolks, blend well and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk the remaining ½ cup of milk with the lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and half each of the lemon and lime zest until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just comes to a simmer. Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken and bubble. Let cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and incorporated. Whisk in yogurt until pudding is smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the filling to prevent it from forming a crust. Chill for 2 hours. Make the jam topping. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine wild blueberries and preserves, stirring, until preserves are melted, blueberries release their juice and mixture begins to bubble. Stir in cornstarch slurry to thicken the mixture. Let mixture bubble 1 more minute or until fully thickened. Cover and chill jam before spreading evenly over top of pie. Garnish with additional dollops of yogurt or sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle with remaining zest.

Hope your week is as easy as pie. ❤ Happy Valentine’s Day, too.

Comfort Dreams & Lemon Meringue Pie

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I am inspired to write this today after my FB cooking buddy, Lois, posted about dreaming of her dad. Lois took great care of her father and prior to his passing spoke with him on the phone on a daily basis. She had been struggling with her grief until her dad came to her in a dream. They were talking on the phone. Dreaming of a shared experience affirming his life brought her peace.

Lois with her dad, Jerry, and two sons

I had a comfort dream of my own. One year after William’s death, I realized I needed out of my old life…that I would never heal if I did not move on, move away and simply just take care of myself. It was my first brave decision…but one filled with incredible conflict, as I would be leaving our home in Connecticut that was filled with 30 years of delicious memories and the place my son adored.

Imagine me packing up his room. The scent of his cologne still on his pillow. His dirty hand-print on the wall. Touching his things I was transported back to the places we had been, the fun we had had and the plans we had made…. the memories flooded over me.  Preserving these memories would allow me to move forward, but how? On our very first night in the new house now in PA I had the most vivid dream. I got up from my bed and looked out the window and in the driveway was my son looking up at me. It was then I knew he goes where I go. I carry him in my heart.

a bittersweet moment as the peak of my pie hit the oven grate and pulled away

Comfort dreams are moments of light and hope. They are stories of support and faith and what is most precious. To tell the story is a way of moving our grief along, but also is a gift to those we share it with. We all heal in the telling of our stories. It’s an uncomfortable blessing to express our pain, but in doing so there is a release and relief. Thank you, Lois for having the courage to mourn out loud. I’d like to think that your dad was telling you in that dream that he is always with you and that everything is going to be all right.

In honor of Lois’ dad I am sharing a recipe for lemon meringue pie. It was one of Jerry’s favorites and a recipe I have been tinkering with recently. The mile high cloud of meringue featured in the first photo above is an Italian meringue made with roasted sugar. It is light and fluffy with less sticky sweetness than the meringue featured in my lattice recipe design. As much as I love the lattice design the real reason behind it was to use less of the meringue I did not want to eat. Delicious citrus fruit is abundant this time of year, but if you can’t find meyer lemons go ahead and use regular lemons which will yield just a slight more pucker power.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust*

1 ½ cups (6 oz) all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar plus additional for pie edge

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (4 oz) vegetable shortening, cold

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold water

1 egg white

Meyer Lemon Filling

2 eggs

7 egg yolks

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1 tablespoon meyer lemon zest

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Lattice Topping**

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crust combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl; cut in shortening. Add water and mix until just combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill 15 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Decorate edge with pastry cut-outs. Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and weigh down with dry beans or pie weights. Place pie dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Lightly brush edge of crust with egg white; sprinkle with sugar. Return crust to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until a light golden brown.  Reduce oven temperature to 325F.  Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add butter and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and reaches 170F. on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in heavy cream. Pour filling into warm pie shell.  For lattice topping, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar and vanilla beating to stiff peaks. Pipe meringue over pie in a lattice pattern. Bake 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool and chill pie before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*ready made pie crust can be substituted for home made crust

** I suggest taking your meringue to the next level with this mile high light Italian Meringue made with roasted sugar. To roast the sugar: spread 1/2 cup of sugar on a piece of foil and place it in a pie plate at 350F for 30 minutes. Then continue with this recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible

1/2 cup sugar (that you just roasted)

2 tablespoons water

4 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

In small heavy saucepan, (I use one that has a pouring spout edge), stir the sugar and water until sugar is moistened. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and turn heat to lowest setting or remove from heat as you attend to the egg whites. In stand mixer with whip attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat to stiff peaks. Increase the heat of the sugar syrup and boil until thermometer registers 236F. With mixer on high, immediately drizzle syrup into the egg whites avoiding the beaters. Beat for 2 minutes or until the mixer bowl no longer feels too hot to touch. Starting from the edges of the pie and covering the inside edge of the crust with meringue spread the meringue on top of the filling making swirls and peaks with a spatula. Bake the pie for 5 minutes at 350F to set the meringue and then place pie under broiler for 20 to 30 seconds for a deeper browning. You could also torch it.

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Warm, but overcast, yesterday was the perfect day for strawberry picking with my family. Highland Farms in West Chester, PA is the place to go for all sorts of fruit picking throughout the year. The scent of strawberries was in the air as we approached the field.

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photo by Caitlin

Do your littles watch the show Daniel Tiger? Annabelle loves the animated Mr. Rodgers version and on one episode Daniel and his friends go “fruit-picking”. My Annabelle could not wait to try it. She ate as much as she picked and was covered in warm strawberry juice by the time we were done. Want to have some fun? Go pick some berries!

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photo by Caitlin

Fresh picked berries are at their peak of sweetness compared to the more tart berries found in the grocery store, so less sugar is needed for the perfect pie. Make sure your filling is really bubbling (see video below) before you pull it from the oven to insure all the juices gel and don’t leave a soupy mess when the pie is cut. If the crust edge is over-browning then cover it with a pie shield or foil.

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Find a pie dough recipe here. It’s my favorite go to recipe and enough for a double crust, so wrap and freeze half of it for another time or just bake two pies.

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best baking buddy ever

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie dough for a single crust pie

2 tablespoons gingersnap crumbs

Crisp Topping

½ cup all purpose flour

¼  cup brown sugar

¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into cubes

Filling

4 cups of fresh picked strawberries, slice large ones in half

2 cups sliced (1/2-inch thick) fresh picked rhubarb

2 tablespons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

¼ cup all purpose flour

Heat oven to 400F. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge.  (Roll out dough scraps and cut shapes for decoration. Sprinkle shapes with sugar, if desired.)

Sprinkle cookie crumbs over bottom of pie shell and chill while preparing topping and filling. For topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl working the butter into the dry ingredients until clumps form. Chill it. For Filling: Place berries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Drizzle with heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla; gently toss to coat. Add sugar and flour; toss again. Spoon into pie shell. Sprinkle crisp mixture over the top. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until pie is bubbling and crust and topping are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature or serve just slightly warm.