Super Easy Key Lime Pie

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I looooove key lime pie, and now that summer is fast approaching, it’s an excellent warm weather dessert. It requires minimal cooking, is refreshingly tart and creamy, and is served nice and chilly. Plus, there’s a super easy recipe for it just below this paragraph. Don’t believe me? TAKE A LOOK!

Key Lime Pie

For the crust:
7 oz graham crackers or ginger snaps, pulverized into crumbs
1 pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh key lime or lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated zest
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs, salt, and butter. Press into the pie pan in an even layer and up the sides.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
  4. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and zest. Whisk until well combined and pour into the pie crust.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until set and just a little jiggly. Let cool completely.
  6. If using the whipped cream: whip the cold cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread or pipe on top.
  7. Chill pie for 2-3 hours before eating. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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Super Easy Key Lime Pie

Lemon Berry Cake

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I was tasked with making a dessert for roughly 25-30 people attending a baby shower last weekend. The mom-to-be and I decided on a lemony berry-y concoction, and this is what I came up with. It was a bit precarious to transport, but it looked nice, tasted good, and fed the right amount of people. Success!

The cake is a basic 1-2-3-4 cake with a dose of vanilla and lemon zest added. I baked mine in the three-tiered wedding-style configuration—if you do that, just keep an eye on the layers since they’ll bake at different rates. Start checking them at 20 minutes. The easier way is to cook them in three 9-inch pans like the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have three. You work with what you got. Note that you can make the lemon curd beforehand (it’ll keep in the fridge for 1 week).

The combo of the sweet cake, tart lemon curd, fresh berries, and fluffy whipped cream is just so good. Technically you could leave out the berries or you could leave out the curd. It’d still be good, just not quite as good. But I get it if you don’t want to prep four things.

 

1-2-3-4 Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 lemons, zested
3 cups sifted self-rising flour*
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare your three 9″ pans by greasing and flouring well.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to mix well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and zest and mix well.

Add flour and milk alternately to mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and cooling completely.

* Make your own self-rising flour if you don’t have any. 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 2 teaspoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt.


Lemon Curd
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen/The Joy of Cooking

4 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small lemons, zested and juiced

Put all ingredients in a double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken.


Berries

1 package fresh strawberries, washed and dried
1 small package raspberries, washed and drained
1 small package blueberries, washed and drained

Hull the strawberries and slice into 2-4 slices lengthwise, depending on their size. If your strawberries are not very sweet, you can toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of sugar.


Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chill a large, clean mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and whip using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer. Add the sugar gradually, a tablespoon at a time. Whip until stiff peaks form.


How to Assemble:

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 1/3 of the lemon curd in a thin layer, followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream and a single layer of berries. If you soaked your strawberries in sugar, be sure to drain them before using. Top with another cake layer and repeat twice. For the final layer, arrange the fruit in a pretty design. Or don’t! Whatever you want. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

cakeside

Lemon Berry Cake

Cooking The Simpsons: Tom Collins Pie

It’s time for another Cooking With The Simpsons! And this time, I tackled Homer’s Tom Collins mix and clove “pie” breakfast. Gross. Read more about it here!

Simpsons Homer pie

This may have started with a gross concoction, but it ended up with a great pie recipe (below). Try it out in the last hot days of summer, or add it to your Thanksgiving line-up as a refreshing dessert—the clove makes it festive.

tom collins pie

Spiced Tom Collins Pie
by Laurel Randolph
20 min prep, 20 min cook time (40 min total)

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cloves (plus extra for decorating)
pinch salt
7 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons gin (optional, I guess)
1-2 lemon slices, for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, clove, salt, and melted butter. Mix well, and dump into your pie pan. Press against the bottom and the edges until an even crust is formed. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. While your crust bakes, combine sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, juice, and zest in a mixing bowl and whisk until very well combined. Once crust is done baking, carefully pour mixture into the crust and smooth the top so it’s level.
  3. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until set but not brown. It should jiggle like Jell-O in the center, not like liquid. Let pie cool completely.
  4. Once your pie is cool, pour cold cream into a mixing bowl and whip until cream starts to get extra thick (a handheld mixer works best here, otherwise your arm is going to get so very tired). Add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, and add gin slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
  5. Spread whipped cream over the top of the cooled pie. Dust lightly with ground cloves, and decorate with a lemon slice or two. Chill until ready to serve, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Cooking The Simpsons: Tom Collins Pie

Gingerbread Trifle

I write for the Paula Deen Network blog (among others), and we host reader recipe submissions every week. I often end up testing one or two of the recipes so that I can give my thoughts and photograph it. Not long ago I made a reader’s gingerbread trifle, and I thought it was worth sharing. Here’s my thoughts, although the recipe is good as is:

This is a solid gingerbread recipe. If you like spicy gingerbread, add a little more spice and maybe some fresh or candied ginger.

I used regular canned pumpkin instead of pumpkin pie filling. It was the perfect amount of sweet for me. If you use filling, I would leave out the sugar.

Definitely go for fresh whipped cream. Great for a crowd/make ahead.

gingerbread trifle

Gingerbread Trifle