Part VI: A Stroke of Genius

27 Mar

Lavender is the most gangster herb there is.  You might protest this.  You might say “hey, I’ve heard them talk about oregano in one of them rap songs and they mean marijuana so it’s gangster.”  No.  Y’kno where you find oregano?  In one of those broke-ass pizza places with the checkerboard tablecloth, all torn up by some bored 7-year old who doesn’t know the difference between snot and everything else.  You think Ghostface is gonna waltz on in for a slice if he’s gotta wait for the little league team to finish their Caprisuns?  I think not.

That’s why lavender’s where it’s at.  It’s popular, it’s delicious, and you can throw it into damn near anything and make it smell like Ina Garten bitchslapped you in the face.  And it’s purple.  What’s more gangster than purple?  Ever seen one of those 70’s blaxploitation movies (or Black Dynamite, both modern and ridiculously awesome) with a gathering of pimps?  Tell me how many of them are wearing burnt sienna or taupe.  Then tell me how many are wearing purple.  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.  I’m going to put this purple in something that’s actually worth your while.  Lemon Icebox Pie with Lavender Whipped Cream.  Perfect for the weather, perfect for your face.  Get ready.

And yeah, I know lavender isn’t an herb.  But its in the mint family and that’s close enough, so deal with it.

Here’s what you need:

-14 graham crackers
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-6 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
Filling (the pie part of the pie)
-2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
-Zest of 2 lemons
-1 1/2 cups strained lemon juice
-8 large egg yolks
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (The original recipe called the whipped cream a “garnish”.  That’s like calling your steering wheel a “nice cosmetic addition”.  It’s important, damnit.)
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 teaspoons lavender
-1 cup whipping cream
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Here’s how you do it:
Whipped Cream:
This one’s easy.
Pour the whipped cream and lavender into a small saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and take it off the burner RIGHT AWAY.  Otherwise it’ll boil up and make you sad and stuff.
Then cover it, wait for it to cool, and put it in the fridge until the pie’s ready.
Once it is, add a couple tablespoons of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and use a hand/stand mixer (or hand-whisk it if you’re bat-shit insane).  Make sure you chill the bowl first, too.  Usually you’d find something like “whisk until it forms soft peaks resembling the White Cliffs of Dover on a brisk spring day” here.  But I’m not gonna insult your intelligence.  You know what whipped cream looks like.  Whisk it up until it becomes that.
Rant time.  If you’re one of those people who buys a crust from the grocery store, makes the rest of the pie “by hand” and then claims you made it yourself, fuck you.  I don’t need you here.  You made half of that pie yourself.  Half.  If I paint half of the Sistine Chapel with crayon, and Michelangelo waltzes in and paints the rest, did you paint the Sistine Chapel?  By yourself?  No.  No you didn’t.  Make your own damn crust.
Anyways.  Heat your oven to 350, then crush up your graham crackers into a food processor.  This is usually where someone would suggest letting their kids break up the crackers because it’s “fun” and they can’t “count well”.  Don’t.  It’ll teach those little bastards to break things.
Add the sugar and salt and pulse until you get a nice, crumbly mixture.  If you open the lid and you’re greeted with a graham crackery mist, you’ve gone too far.  Your kitchen’ll probably smell awesome for a while, though.  Your call.
Pulse the butter in.  When it looks like the picture and holds up, it’s ready.
Pour the crust into a springform pan (If you don’t have one, go get one.  It’s the only way to make cheesecake, and that’s the only reason you need) and press it down with something hard and flat.  Or your hand.  Or your face.  Whatever.  Just make it evenish, and get it about 2/3 up the sides of the pan.
This one’s easy too.
Whisk the condensed milk and lemon juice in a bowl.
Whisk the yolks, vanilla and zest in another, until they’re pale.
Whisk both bowls together.  Voila.
Actually, I take that back.  This one’s a pain in the ass, for one very specific reason: lemons.  The original recipe called for 4-6 lemons.  To make 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice.  Go ahead and squeeze a lemon right now, multiply that by 4 or 6, and tell me if it’s even close to a cup and a goddamned half.  I’ll save you the trouble: it ain’t.  You’re gonna need at least 12 lemons for that much, and unless you have a fancy juicer or some such contraption, get ready for your wrists to be in fucking agony.  All this to say…go ahead and buy the pre-made stuff.  It’s not that big of a deal, and despite that big ol’ rant from before, this one’s excusable.  Anyone who wants to call me a hypocrite can juice 12 lemons by hand and then come back here and talk to me.  Good luck trying to type out the hate mail after your median nerves EXPLODE.
Put the pan on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the springform pan (shocking turn that recipe took, I know.  Calm yourselves, people).
Stick it in the oven for 30 minutes, long enough so the filling jiggles just a little bit.
Let it sit on a cooling rack for an hour, cover the top of the pie with the whipped cream, and cover with foil or plastic wrap.  After that, just stick it in the freezer for 5 hours and that’s that.
I’m going for a classic singer for a classic recipe:  Nat King Cole with All by Myself:

Don’t be afraid to enjoy this one all by yourself, people.  Eating pie with friends is cool, but sometimes you need a moment to appreciate it without someone yammering in your ear about how they think David likes them and they’re not sure and IF ONLY HE’D CALL.  Keep it simple, and give this deliciousness the silence it deserves.  See you next time, silent readers.

Recipe adapted (scratch that: improved) from The Galley Gourmet.


2 Responses to “Part VI: A Stroke of Genius”

  1. Joseph Cakenbottom, IV, Esq. March 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm #


  2. Sophia Matthews September 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Sugar. Water. Purple.

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