Happy Pi DAY or π Day (3.14). Pi, the mathematical constant whose value....well who cares, let's eat pie! I know, I know, my pie looks like a tart. I was too lazy to roll out the dough, so I pushed it into one of my tart pans instead...it always works perfectly and keeps me from obsessing about every crimped edge on my pie crust. I do, do that.
Anyway, today is one of those weird days where the mathematical world and the food world intersect...or do they? Somehow I don't see mathematician's celebrating Pi like the food bloggers celebrate pie...or maybe they do. Well who cares anyway. It was still a good reason to make a pie.
All I can say is this is one of the easiest, most lemony tasting pies around. It's fresh, tangy and sets up easily in the oven. It's perfection. Oh and it has limoncello (lee-mon-CHEH-loh), an aromatic lemon liqueur made from lemon rinds, making it less tart than lemonade. Have you ever sipped an icy cold limoncello? I love it...you need to try.
This pie would also be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G with a meringue topping...however, I do not do meringue in rain, snow or humidity; with all the sugar, meringue absorbs moisture from the air and makes a gloppy mess.
So here's a shot of today's weather from the backside of our property...this was early morning before the REAL blizzard started. It SNOWED. ALL. DAY. LONG. Is it not almost Spring? And therefore, my pie shall remain meringue-less. Snow = no meringue. But if the weather is perfect in your area, give it a whirl...my Mommy's meringue recipe is here. Or whipped cream does the job nicely.
What I love about this pie is how balanced the sweet to tart ratio tastes...and again, it's so, so easy to make. You do not even have to make custard. Just mix and fill in your pie shell.
This would be beautiful on an Easter buffet table....mmmhhhmmmm. Going to get another piece...
Tangy Lemon-Limoncello Pie
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
For the crust:
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 stick (4T) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
3 Tablespoons butter flavored vegetable shortening, cubed
4-6 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons limoncello (you could substitute lemon extract 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
For the crust add the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening to a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix the ingredients together. Add ice water through the feed tube, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together as you are pulsing. The dough should not be dry or sticky and you may only need a few Tablespoons of water to get there. Wrap the dough in plastic, flattening to a disk, chilling 30 minutes to an hour before rolling it out. Do not skip this part and read about why we chill pie dough here.
Preheat oven to 400o F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Coat your 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8" thick. Transfer dough to pie plate, trim, leaving 1" of dough to edge under and crimp. Freeze pie shell until firm (about 20 minutes), and line dough with foil, filling with beans or rice. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and weights and return crust to oven, baking until golden, about 10 minutes longer.
Reduce oven temperature to 300o F.
For the filling, whisk together eggs, yolks and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, cream, limoncello and salt. Pour into prebaked crust. Keep pie on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until filling is just set, 25-30 minutes. Make sure to watch, if you overbake, the filling will be less creamy. Allow pie to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.
~If you push your dough into a tart pan as I did, please note you will have about 1 cup of extra filling leftover. The tart pan is not as deep as a pie shell. I baked that filling in little ramekins after my pie came out of the oven for a "crustless dessert".
Just take a bite....
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