Since today is foggy, wet and just plain ol’ dreary, I thought I might share an uplifting dessert. This pie is just the opposite of today. It’s cheery, bright and very spring-like. I know that many of you are already in the middle of spring and sporting shorts and flip-flops, but us Mainer’s here are stuck in March-like weather. We had some beautiful days of warm weather and sun, but now it’s gotten cold and windy again. I even saw snow spitting from the sky a few days ago. Ugh. Despite the cold, we did manage to get a some seeds planted in our garden on Easter. Hopefully they don’t rot from all the rain!
Anyway, on to this pie. It is like eating spring for dessert. Fresh strawberries, bright lemon curd and softly whipped cream are layered into an untraditional pie crust. And, there is even some lemon curd folded into the whipped cream. My husband isn’t a big lemon person, but he devoured this pie. I ended up making two pies, one for my family and one for a good friend of mine who just had her third baby. Don’t be discouraged about all the egg whites you will be left with after making the lemon curd. I have another amazing dessert to share with you soon that will use up those leftover egg whites, and any left over lemon curd! So save your leftovers and hold tight! This is a great dessert to make for any and every occasion!
Recipe for the crust and concept from Annie’s Eats, lemon curd from Lily’s Café Cookbook, Revised Edition by Kyra Alex
For the crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 2 oz. cream cheese, softened but still cool
For the lemon curd
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and chopped
- zest of 2 lemons
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- lemon curd from above
- To make the pie crust, lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and completely combined, about 2 minutes. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until large clumps of dough begin to form, about 30 seconds.
- Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 6-inch disc. Transfer to the pie plate. Using your fingers, gently press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Prick the bottom of the crust evenly with the tines of a fork. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. Whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until smooth. Mix the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, butter chunks and lemon zest into the lemon juice mixture. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened and smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pan by having the heat too high. The curd should hold the pattern of the whisk when stirred. Remove from heat and transfer to a metal bowl. Place plastic wrap over the bowl, pushing down so the plastic is touching the curd completely (prevents a skin from forming). Place in the refrigerator until completely cooled, 2-3 hours.*
- To make the filling, toss the strawberries with the lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Drain the excess liquid. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove 3/4 cup of the whipped cream and place in a pastry bag fitted with the star tip. Gently fold 2/3 cup of the chilled lemon cream into the remaining whipped cream, just until combined.
- To assemble the pie, spread 1/2 cup of the lemon curd over the bottom of the pie shell, then spread the sliced strawberries over the lemon curd. Spread the whipped cream with the lemon curd folded in, over the strawberries. To finish, pipe the plain whipped cream around the edge and garnish with additional fresh strawberries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.
*The lemon curd will last in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.