For a dose of sunshine, eat some lemon pie.

Since the beginning of December, our landscape has pretty much looked constantly like this:

Winter in KY 2010-2011

Not that I’m complaining much – I like the snow. Georgia didn’t really have snow to speak of, only the ice that appears around January and hangs around until March. Kentucky doesn’t usually have too much snow on average, but every so often we get really big winters. This year was the year – we even got a White Christmas for the first time. Cullen has also gotten plenty of practice shoveling snow from various surfaces. :)

Even as much as I love seeing all the pretty, pristine white, sometimes it’s a little too much. I get snow-blindness, and then I get depressed. (Okay, so that’s not the exact order of things, but they do happen.) Stuck inside all the time, too cold to go out, too wet to go play? Bleh. On top of that, the dogs are going stir-crazy – we can’t allow them to romp and play inside as much as they’d like, and playing outside in the snow is fun until ice balls form between their footpads. This all makes for sad puppies. Owners, too.

Lemon pie - Whipped Cream Beaters

While I can’t cheer up the dogs with dessert or citrus, I can do a little something edible for myself that brings the sunshine of summertime inside for a little while. Citrus seems to be everyone’s go-to for a wintertime pick-me-up, and I’m no different. I started making this earlier this winter as something to bring for dessert to a weekly supper at my aunt’s, and I’ve made it several times since. I adapted the lemon tart provided by the gracious Mrs. Humble – I don’t have an 11″ tart pan, so I used a pre-made 9″ pie crust. The recipes makes more than double a standard pie; I bet you could probably get at least two small tarts out of this in addition to the two standard pies. I have also made it in a deep dish, and it fills almost too full. The baking time is also different because of the depth of filling, but it still works out well. Just add 20-30 minutes to the baking time below, until the center is set but still a bit wiggly. Mrs. Humble dusts hers with confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure that’s plenty tasty, but I top mine with sweetened whipped cream. (I’m sure you could also use meringue, but since I don’t eat it, I don’t make it without sincere persuasion.)

Lemon pie filling in progress

Thankfully, the sun seems to be coming out more often now, and the snow seems to be leaving us alone for a while. Granted, we still have March to deal with, and after the winter we’ve had, it will be a formidable one. Thankfully, with lemon pie on my plate, I think we can deal with it a bit longer.

Lemon Custard Pie
(adapted from Not So Humble Pie)

serves 8-10

ingredients:

1 frozen unbaked pie crust
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 c granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large eggs
1 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 c heavy cream

1-1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c confectioner’s sugar

directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Press 1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest into the unbaked crust before baking according to package directions. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Process the one cup of sugar with the remaining lemon zest in your food processor or with a hand blender for about 2-3 minutes, until the zest is finely ground. Pour the sugar into a bowl and add the eggs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt; whisk until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and then whisk the cream into the sugar/egg mixture until just blended. Pour this mixture into your still warm crust and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.

Allow the tart to cool completely. Refrigerate if desired. When ready to serve, beat the 1-1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with the 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar until a desirable consistency is reached. Serve delicate, rich slices topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Lemon sugar and farm eggs

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