Salted Key Lime Pie

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Today is National Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day). I don’t need an excuse to eat pie, so it seemed like a great day to celebrate. This recipe is adapted from the Agua de Jamaica Key Lime Pie recipe in Cheers to Vegan Sweets. The addition of coconut cream adds a subtle creamy flavor to the tangy key lime base, and the sea salt makes it taste like a slice of margarita. The recipe makes a mini pie, so double the ingredients for a standard-sized pie.

Salted Key Lime Pie

Makes 1 6-inch pie

Ingredients

For the crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup lime juice (about 10 key limes)
1/2 tablespoon lime zest
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon coconut cream (or more cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whipped cream, coarse salt, and lime slices for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. If the crumbs are dry or won’t hold together when pressed, add a splash of milk to the bowl.
Grease a 6-inch pie or tart pan with margarine or cooking spray, then press the graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until firm. Set aside to cool.

Combine all filling ingredients except the cream cheese and coconut cream in a medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently until very thick, 8 to 9 minutes.
Turn off heat, then stir in the cream cheese and coconut cream until smooth.
Let sit for a minute, then pour into prepared graham cracker crust. Cool completely on cooling rack, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator until firm.

Garnish the pie with lime slices and whipped cream, and sprinkle with coarse salt.

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“Sally, go watch TV.”

*Warning: season three spoilers!

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When I was watching Mad Men for the first time. The second time around, I was supposed to pay attention to food, design, and table setting for this project, but alas, I got sucked in and forgot for the greater portion of six seasons. However, there are some scenes that I didn’t need to actively remember because they made quite an impression.

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One of those scenes is in season three episode four, ‘The Arrangements.’ After Grandpa Gene’s death, the adults are sitting at the dining table, a world away from Sally. When she witnesses a moment of levity, she bursts forth with emotion, exclaiming no one cares that Gene is gone forever, and gets brushed off by Betty. (“Sally, go watch TV.”) Betty snacks on the bruised peaches while the TV pacifies Sally in her ballet outfit. Besides the beautiful and emotive imagery, this scene speaks volumes. While defeated Sally lies on the floor, the adults make no attempt to show her that her claims are wrong, and continue with their sordid, repressed lives.

For me, it evokes Gregory Crewdson*, creator of lush imagery dealing with suburban psychological unrest. His images are not specific to any time period, but there are certainly visual crossovers with Mad Men.

*Sidenote: I attended an artist talk of his where he referred to Mad Men as “the greatest work of sustained art in the past ten years.” See, full circle logic!
mad-men-the-arrangements

Photo credit: AMC

Prior to his passing, Sally became close to Grandpa Gene. He was letting Sally drive his car down the street when he says he’ll buy her peaches that afternoon. Bobby complains that he’s allergic to peaches, but Gene tells him to shut it because his sister wants them. It’s at the A&P buying the peaches where he collapses.

sally-draper-driving

Photo credit: AMC

With this series of events in mind, I decided to make peach pie à la mode as a gesture toward Sally, even though she would be much older now, and also she’s not a real person. Betty probably would probably take it away from her anyway.

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Sweet vanilla bean ice cream and warm peaches offer a short, transient window of time to enjoy the dessert. I styled the photos after the image of the dining room and Sally in her ballet outfit, using dark, moody lighting and sheer fabrics.

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Peach Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Crust:

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup cold vodka or ice water
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

8 peaches (5 cups sliced)
Pinch of lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Make the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut in shortening and margarine and mix in with your hands until the dough looks like sand.
  3. Add vodka and ice water and mix until a dough forms, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Separate the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.
  5. Remove the peach skins by blanching the peaches. Boil a large pot of water, and prepare an ice bath.
  6. Score a small X in the top of each peach. Place all the peaches in the boiling water for 45 seconds, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. The skins will slip right off.
  7. Slice the peaches and set aside. Wait to make the filling because it will get too liquidy if it sits for too long.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out one of the chilled doughs and place in a greased pie plate. Poke with a fork so steam can escape. Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. Let cool.
  9. Make the filling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, spices, cornstarch, and salt to the peaches and mix until completely combined. Pour into pie crust. Dot with butter.
  10. Make a lattice crust with the other portion of dough. There are people with beautiful kitchens on YouTube who can teach you how to make a lattice crust.
  11. Place completed pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to 375°F and finish baking for 30 minutes.
  13. Let cool, then cut and serve.

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