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Lemon Pie

My baskets are filled with gorgeous organic lemons. I love the freshness of their green-yellow colours and, with a deep breath, I try to inhale as much of their invigorating scent as possible.

It’s impossible to read everything that pops up on our feed daily, the amount of posts, articles and photographs online is just enormous and not all of them are worthy of our time and energy. There are a few accounts though that I choose to follow and love for their content, as I know there’s always something useful and important for me to read or something that will simply speak to my heart, which is exactly what happened today when I read a comment on Instagram that got me thinking, written by a friend and blogger I’ve been following for a while.

During a walk in the countryside that has suffered from intense and long droughts, she was gazing at the beautiful spring flowers that had just started to bloom and wondered how they always find the strength to thrive under such adverse conditions, miraculously emerging from the dry and parched earth. And at the same time, she kept wondering, was she just admiring their perseverance and patience or was she also looking for hope and motivation in nature’s struggle for survival?

This is a blogger I absolutely love for her beautiful writing and inspiring photographs. She’s one of those people who often don’t speak much but can send powerful messages and expand your perspective with only a few words, and I love that in people.

Metaphorically, these flowers could be us living a dry and parched life for more than a year. I know it’s been said so many times before but, as much as we like to avoid this conversation, the situation remains crazy and harsh and completely out of our control. What’s even more insane is that we recently had our one year anniversary with what seems to be a never-ending drama that we call pandemic life!

Can’t help but wonder how each of us goes through and experiences all that’s happening. How can one thrive, find the energy and strength to survive, support others, keep moving forward and stay afloat in the harshest of conditions?

I’m thinking that the only way to cope with these strange and uncertain times is to take it day by day and seek hope and strength in the little things in life, the ones we used to take for granted. A sunny day, a walk by the sea, a warm smile and hug from our loved ones, some pleasant news or an unexpected conversation with a friend.. These little everyday things can charge our batteries, if only for a day, and just when we start feeling drained and mentally exhausted again, it’s these little and otherwise ordinary things that fill us with energy once again. One day at a time!

That’s how we move forward and survive, much like flowers that thrive in dry, arid areas because that’s what they’re programmed to do, and always find a way to bloom under the bright burning sun. That’s how we are programmed too, and the power that resides within us – even if we don’t even know it exists- will always push us towards withstanding any storm.

I guess we’re all in need of something happy and pretty and a little bit of cheering up, so that’s exactly what I’m planning to do today. My baskets are filled with gorgeous organic lemons. I love the freshness of their green-yellow colours and, with a deep breath, I try to inhale as much of their invigorating scent as possible. This is one of those little things in life that spark joy and bring a sense of euphoria.

 

Who doesn’t love a good Lemon Pie? I’m sure it’s a safe choice for many of you when craving a good old light and delicious dessert. My lemons are super fresh and fragrant, and since my hydrangeas are now in full bloom, they had to join the lemon party! The colour combination is just too pretty not to share! With so much beauty in my kitchen today, I can’t help but take my camera and capture the creative mess that’s about to unfold, all while making this heavenly dessert!

Ingredients

Pie crust

200g all-purpose flour

50g coconut flour

180g cold butter

50g confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1tbsp cold water

1 lemon zest

¼ tsp salt

1 cup beans

 

lemon filling

3 eggs

130g granulated sugar

100ml lemon juice

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Zest from 2 lemons

150g cold butter

 

Swiss meringue

200g granulated sugar

200g egg whites

1tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Method

1. Pie crust. In a bowl, mix flour with confectioner’s sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whisk well and add the cubed cold butter. Using your hands, mix the butter with flour (it would be best to wear gloves to prevent warming the butter) until the butter is incorporated into the flour. Then add the egg and cold water and work the dough until smooth and soft. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Open the dough in between two pieces of baking paper in a round shape. Butter a tart tin. Transfer the dough into the tart tin and press with your fingers to create an even layer. Run a rolling pin over the rim of the tart tin to trim any overhanging pastry. Dock the pastry dough, cover with oven safe plastic wrap and add the beans on top. Bake the tart for 15 minutes at 180C. Remove the beans and plastic wrap, reduce the heat to 175C and bake for approx. 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool.

2. Lemon filling. While the tart crust is resting, start making the lemon filling. In a pot over low heat, add sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and stir continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. Once thickened enough, remove from heat and add cold butter. With a hand blender, mix the ingredients well until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth and even. Cover the cream with plastic wrap and let it cool completely in the refrigerator. Then pour the cream on top of the now cold tart crust and put the tart in the refrigerator again.

3. Swiss meringue. Heat a small pot with 1 glass of water. In a bowl, mix the egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk until the mixture is white and foamy and starts to thicken, approx. 5-6 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and add the mixture into the mixer’s bowl. Beat until the mixture turns into a thick meringue.

4. Remove the tart from the refrigerator. Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag and start piping round shapes of meringue onto the tart. Use a cooking torch to burn the meringue tips until lightly golden.

 

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