I’m taking a break

My family has been touched by loss in the last few days. I covet your prayers for peace and comfort. I’ll be back here soon.

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Lemon Cake Pie

I have a confession, I’m a perfectionist.  I hate it when I try something new and it doesn’t turn out.  In the past I  have let this fear hold me back, but I’m doing my best to get over it.  Then the night of the ‘Lemon Cake Pie’ came, and it made me want to give into my perfectionism and only cook or bake things that I KNOW will turn out wonderfully.

This recipe is from Ladies Home Journal – March 2012

I did not make my own crust, used the Pillsbury ready crust instead.

I made this recipe two nights in a row.

The first try was at our Julie & Julia night.  The blasted thing was in the oven for over an hour and REFUSED to set up.  And I tried to think of all the things we may have done wrong.  Should I have used a glass pan instead of my pampered chef pan?  Should we have beaten the egg whites first so that the milk and lemon juice weren’t just sitting there ruining each other?  Should I have tented with foil earlier?  Should we have mixed everything together more?  I just don’t know.  But here is the beauty of our efforts…

lemon cake pie 1

Burnt and gooey? Takes talent to make that happen.

The second night I was on my own and determined to make this thing work.  I beat the egg whites to a frenzy.  I kept the milk and lemon juice separate until everything was ready to be mixed together.  I used a glass pan, just like the picture.  I tented with foil early on, so nothing would be burnt.  I tired to correct any mistakes we may  have made the night before.

lemon cake pie 2

The dent in the middle is where the foil stuck…

It’s a whole lot prettier than the night before – BUT – it still just wouldn’t set up.

FRUSTRATION.

After about 45/50 minutes, I cried “Uncle” and pulled it out of the oven to cool.

Lemon Cake Pie

Crust
3 c all-purpose flour
1 c shortening

Filling
3 tlbsp all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
4 tblsp unsalted butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c lemon juice – If you’re sqeezing fresh, it takes about 1 1/2 lemons
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 c milk

To prepare the crust:  In a food processor or with a pastry blender, mix flour and shortening until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal, about 10 pulses.  Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water to form dough.  Divide dough in half.  On a floured surface roll one half into a 12 inch circle and line a 9 inch pie pan; chill in refrigerator.  Freeze remaining dough for later use.

Heat oven to 450 degrees with wire rack in the lower third.  Stir together flour, sugar, butter zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk.  In a separate bowl beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into lemon mixture.

Pour mixture into crust and bake 10 min.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  If top of pie gets too dark, tent with foil.

lemon cake pie 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The first night, we all took a spoon to the middle, just to get a taste.  It was TART (lip puckering tart).  The second night, the taste was much milder.  But in the end, the thought of cake and pie having a happy yummy marriage is much sweeter than the actual result.  I’m going to keep trying new things, but this recipe will be put in the ‘Do NOT attempt again’ file.

Julie & Julia

Julie.n.JuliaOne of the girls I’ve been mentoring over the last couple of years asked if we could do a Julie & Julia night.  She wanted to learn how to cook something and then watch the movie, what better night could there be?

Our menu for the evening was:

Butternut Squash Risotto – recipe from Cooking Light, October 2011

Baked BBQ Chicken

Steamed Broccoli Rabe

Lemon Cake Pie (This one will get its own post…)

So it was up to me and these three girls to get a yummy dinner on the table.

JnJ night 1

Butternut Squash Risotto

3 c cubed peeled butternut squash, divided
3 1/2 c fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
2 c uncooked Arborio rice
2 tblsp chopped flat-leaf parsely (I skipped this)
5 oz applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Place mixture in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  We used my immersion blender.

Return mixture to pan.  Stir in broth; bring to a simmer.  Remove and set aside 1/4 cup squash mixture.  Keep pan warm over low heat.

Heat a large Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in remaining 1 cup squash, 2 1/2 cup squash mixture and 1/8 tsp salt.  Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

Add remaining squash mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is absorbed before adding the next cup (about 20 minutes).  Removed from heat, stir in reserved 1/4 c squash mixture.  Top with parsley and bacon when serving.

cartoon-strawberry-9This risotto was GOOD.  We didn’t coat the pan enough at the beginning and a little of the rice stuck to the bottom, but not much.  This was a great side dish for chicken, and would be just as good for beef or pork.

For the chicken, we lightly salted both sides with some seasoned salt, covered with BBQ sauce and baked in a 400 degree oven for about a half an hour.

We steamed the broccoli in a steamer for 15 minutes.

JnJ night 2

JnJ night 3

We cooked and laughed and ate.  A good time was had by all.  And then there was the Lemon Cake Pie…

P.S. – This is what happened when I wanted to get a shot of the girls cooking…

JnJ night 4