Around about Thursday of each week someone, some boy child or another, begins rifling through my old magazines, recipe card file and cookbooks. This is a sure sign of two things:
1) We have run out of dessert leftovers from the previous Sunday dinner.
2) He has realized that it is HIS turn to choose the upcoming Sunday dinner’s dessert.
I love this. It involves lots off oohing and ahhing, some lamenting the fact that not every recipe has a corresponding photograph, and some questions like, “Mama do we have a cream weigher?” (He needed to know if our cream was “heavy” or not.) There are inevitably some painstakingly scrawled ingredient additions to my grocery list… “chocklit, shuger and whooping creme.”
I might not bother with teaching them to spell. I’m enjoying their interpretive style altogether too much.
For a while now my oldest boy has been making his desserts on his own. I have to sit on the other side of the bar to watch silently and only assist when asked or when it is absolutely necessary – as in ” Whoa whoa whoa! That’s one TEASPOON of salt, not one TABLESPOON!”
This past week though, he declared that he doesn’t want to follow recipes anymore. He wants to experiment with his own creations.
Well I could see right off that this was going to be harder than we both thought. He found out really quickly that it’s tough to just come up with a recipe out of no where. You kind of have to be pretty well versed in kitchen science, and have some sort of jumping off point – a basic cake that you can dress up in new ways, a simple cookie that you can turn into 4 completely different creations, a good ice cream base that can become the vehicle for so many other flavors.
In the end he decided that he wanted a pie. “A cold one.”
He already knew how to make a graham cracker crust. He compared and contrasted some basic custard recipes and came up with a sort of combined version. I taught him to whip cream, and he decided to flavor it with a little bit of almond extract. And… in a stroke of pure genius, he added a layer of raspberry jam beneath the custard.
The result… in his own words, “Well it isn’t the prettiest pie, but I could stand here and eat the whole thing with a spoon.”
It’s an age old truth… the ugliest pies are always the tastiest. Always.
And so, without further ado, we give you:
Luke’s Raspberry Vanilla Cream Pie.
To Make the Crust –
1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter.
Mix it all together until crumbly and then press it into the bottom and up the sides of a greased pan. Put it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so and then straight into a preheat (350 F) oven for 8 minutes. Take it out and let it cool to room temp.
To Make the Custard –
Into a saucepan put 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups milk (we used 2%), and 4 egg yolks. Cook this over medium high heat, stirring constantly until it is quite thick. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Now, melt half a jar of seedless raspberry jam (we used the microwave). Pour this into the cooled crust and spread. Put it into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to cool it a bit.
Next, carefully pour the custard on top of the raspberry jam. You have to go really slowly so as not to disturb the jam. Cover this with a layer of plastic wrap. Press the wrap right into the custard so that it doesn’t form a skin. When it’s at room temperature you can put it into the fridge for a couple of hours to set and get nice and cold.
Just before serving, top with whipped cream.
To Make the Whipped Cream –
Pour a cup of heavy cream into a mixer and mix on medium high until it forms peaks. Add in 2 tablespoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of almond extract.