Oh My Potluck!

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When Life Gives You Lemons (Basil and Ricotta): Pie-Pop!

piepopsIt’s not very often that you see a lemon pie. Not a lemon meringue pie, but a straight-up pie shell packed with lemons. Enter the pie pop. The pie pop is the perfect vessel for this tart fruit. Coupled with a crisp crust, it’s a match made in Heaven.

I thought it would be fun to pair the lemon with an herb for extra flavour. Basil instantly came to mind and then I remembered these delicious lemon ricotta pancakes. Lemon plus basil plus ricotta sounds like a party to me. I infused the lemon curd with just a hint of basil and then added some ricotta cheese for richness.

The overall process of making pie and pie pops consumes a lot of time so I’m really glad I got this one right on the first try. Well, pretty much right. I might try adding a small flake of fresh basil inside each pie pop next time but I think this is great for now. Let me know what you try and how it works!

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I have (at least) two addictions. One is buying records. The other is buying cookbooks. I love music and thus love records. I love cooking and thus love cookbooks. The problem with both of these is that I don’t have that much space in my home. But that’s entirely off topic.

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One of the cookbooks I bought recently was Jekka’s Herb Cookbook. I have only had a chance to flip through the pages but I am so excited to start diving in and trying some new things with new herbs. There’s a lot it offers. I’ll report back on that later so stay tuned to the blog.

Another excellent cookbook I’ve been using a lot recently is Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. I got it for Christmas this year and am so pleased to have a book that uses vegan ingredients so effectively. Robin is a trained chef herself, food blogger and cooking teacher. She obviously knows her stuff and I’ve been really enjoying her recipes.

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I had to purge a few cookbooks recently. Admittedly, a lot had been my BFF’s bachelor cookbooks and we’d moved beyond those. Luckily I ran into a really nice lady named Rose who was looking for pretty much these exact cookbooks that offered simple, easy, on-a-budget recipes. She took almost everything and the rest were left up for grabs. Hopefully they all go to a good home.

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In giving up these cookbooks I realized that so much of what I learn about baking and cooking is online. I still look to cookbooks now and again but there are so many great resources online … and they are way easier to search. Not to mention there’s a thriving community of chefs on the internet that range from amateur to professional. So it ends up that the cookbooks I own work in kitchen niches. When I need a healthy, whole-grain, diabetic friendly recipe I resort to that cookbook. When I’m looking for an eye-pleasing, delicate cookie that requires serious craftsmanship I know where to go on my bookshelf. When I’m just trying to come up with something new from a bunch of ingredients in my cupboards and don’t want to go to the grocery store, then it is the internet I turn to.

Music is very similar for me. I listen to a lot of music on websites like Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube but when something goes so far as to make an impression then that’s when I need the whole package; it gets physical. I need to have something I can spin over and over again when I’m in the mood.

Since my collection continuously grows, I needed to do a grand purge of the record library much like the cookbook library. There were some duplicates and an armful of salvage bin buys that I was ready to part with. I was unable to part with either copy of my Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtracks. One is a reissue from 2002 in new condition, and the other an original Canadian pressing. That’s the only duplicate I kept; it was so worth it. Just think. Now I can scratch and bounce the Time Warp at the next wedding I deejay. Gold.

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During the purge, I also found a lot of gems I had kind of forgotten about. I’ve tried to arrange samples from these albums in a playlist for you to enjoy while making these basil-lemon-ricotta pie pops. I hope it works.


Watch here or on YouTube.

When Life Gives You Lemons (Basil and Ricotta): Pie-Pop!

Makes about 24

Crust:

  • 5 cups (600 grams or 1 pound 5 1/4 ounces) pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup lemon zest (2-3 large lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve whites for later)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (2-3 large lemons)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 10 ounces of ricotta cheese, strained
  • 24 x 6 inch lollipop sticks
  • 2 egg whites (for glazing)

Crust:

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup lightly whisk the egg and add the lemon juice. Fill to the 3/4 cup line with cold water. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a heavy fork until the mixture forms a ball.
  3. Cover and place in fridge while preparing the lemon curd filling.

Filling:

  1. Stir together the sugar and lemon zest. Cream the lemon-sugar mixture and butter. Beat in the eggs and yolks at low speed, one at a time. Then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Stir in the basil leaves.
  2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and place over medium low heat. Heat to about 160˚F (70˚C), stirring frequently until thick (15 to 20 minutes). A few little bubbles are okay but don’t let it boil or the eggs will cook. When done, the lemon curd should stick to a spoon.
  3. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Lightly spray your cookie sheets.
  4. Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove basil leaves and lemon rind. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Stir in the ricotta cheese.
  5. On a floured surface roll out the dough 1 to 2 millimeters thick. Thick dough will overpower the pie so get it as thin as you can. Use a cookie cutter with about a 3 inch (8 centimeter) diameter to make rounds for the pies.
  6. Place some rounds on your prepared cookie sheet. Lay a lollipop stick on top so that it extends three quarters into the circle. Press lightly to secure it. Place a tablespoon of the lemon curd ricotta mixture in the center. Put another dough round on top. Using a lollipop stick that’s lightly coated in flour firmly press dimples around the edge of the pie. Brush the egg white on the top.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and crispy. Allow to cool on pan for about 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Store carefully in an airtight container to bring to your potluck.

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4 comments on “When Life Gives You Lemons (Basil and Ricotta): Pie-Pop!

  1. Sean.Perrin
    March 10, 2013

    Great idea! I made my first pie the other day on a whim, I’ll have to try this next!

    • kahht
      March 10, 2013

      Mm! Pies are so rewarding. Congrats on your first pie. Let me know how you like this one if you get a chance to try it.

  2. These are adorable! I love this idea. 🙂

    • kahht
      May 11, 2013

      They were a huge hit.

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2013 by in Pie and tagged , , , , , .

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