May 13, 2008

(I wish I was in) Florida . . . Pie

After the basement flooding drama this weekend, I've been thinking a lot about memories. I can't continue to dwell on the fact that all those photographs are gone. I have to, instead, try to remember all those vacations, parties, weddings, gatherings, births, etc. Memories...they're all I have now of that period in my life.

It wasn't just the loss of the pictures that bothers me. There was also my teddy bear, the one my aunt gave to me when I was born. He'll need to have his stuffing replaced, I'm sure, since he's soaked through and through.

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I figured that most of the dishes--my parents' wedding china & my unusual tea cup collection--would be fine, would just need a good washing. However, the guys hired to work on cleaning the basement must have just thrown stuff into trash bags...a few tea cups were broken, including part of the miniature tea set I played with as a child.

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Then again, I've always believed that there has to be destruction in order for there to be rebirth, renewal, and change. I've even written about that before, and that post seems eerily relevant now.

So, what does all that have to do with pie? Initially, I wondered why this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe (chosen by Dianne of Dianne's Dishes) was called "Florida Pie." Then, I read Dorie's explanation; this pie reminds her of vacationing in Florida with her family.

My family, too, used to vacation in Florida...Sanibel Island to be exact. I remember going there, but I don't have too many specific memories of what we did. I do remember once being at a shop where I picked an oyster out of a tank, and they opened it up to find a pearl, which I then had set into the jewelry of my choice. I chose a little silver cage pendant that held the pearl. I've often wondered what happened to that necklace. Our other vacations, the ones I had albums of pictures from, included a cross-country drive to California (four people, including one little brother, in a minivan...ugh) with a stop in Arizona (look, kids, it's the Grand Canyon!), a weekend in Chicago, and a week spent at my uncle's farm in West Virginia.

Anyway...at least here is another dessert to distract and comfort me while I continue to sort through bags of mementos and memories of a past life.

Florida Pie
from Dorie Greenspan's
Baking: From My Home to Yours

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Dorie says, "What I did was put a layer of sweet (but not exceedingly so), soft, chewy coconut in the bottom of the traditional graham cracker crust and cover it with the classic Key lime filling [...]. Then when I made the meringue for the topping, I folded some coconut into it, so the pie is symmetrical--coconuttily speaking."

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Squeezing Key limes made me feel like a giant.

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended.

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Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

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To Finish the Pie with Meringue:

Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.

Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

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Kelly's note: I didn't do any of the freezing. I just let the baked pie cool enough to top it with meringue. I sprinkled that with some coconut instead of folding it in. Then, I tried used my brulee torch to brown the top. It was burning too much, though, instead of browning.

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So, I stuck the pie back in the oven for a few minutes until the top was nice and toasty. My first meringue pie...I'm so happy with how it turned out!

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11 comments:

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your posts are making my heart sad. It must be so difficult to let go of all of those things. Your pie turned out terrific. Hope you enjoyed the taste.

CB said...

Bummer about the flooding :( but at least the water didn't wipe away the memories. You'll have forever. Glad you enjoyed the pie!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Jayne said...

Your pie looks beautiful! Wonderful job. (And my heart goes out to you - and that poor little soaking wet teddy bear. I'm sure he can be re-stuffed!)

Engineer Baker said...

So sad about your teaset and everything else - I hope the florida pie made things just a little bit better :)

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Sorry to hear about the basement flooding. I know how overwhelming that can be. But you're a resilient blogger, congrats on your first meringue pie!

Dianne said...

Oh wow...It sounds like you really had a craptastic week! I'm sorry about all your photos and items. You pie looks great though. :)

annmartina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how devastated you are. I hope the pie was comforting. I agree about the torch. I used that too but I didn't like the effect. I will put it under the broiler next time.
We used to vacation on Sanibel too. There used to be an ice cream parlor named Duncan's and one night of the trip we would go there and have banana splits for dinner.

Julius said...

I am sad to read your loss.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I just love your turquoise pie plate, it looks lovely with your pie!

Melissa said...

I am so sorry that you have lost some things in the flooding. I have a feeling that some of my things are gone too since they've been in storage for so many years and really not well protected. You seem to have a good outlook though. Hope the coming weeks are happier.

reney said...

Try six people in a station wagon. Including two little brothers and on little sister, all of whom like to sleep on you. All the way to Colorado.