You know those days that are so hot and humid walking down the street feels more like wading in lukewarm buttermilk? That was Friday in London. Every living creature stood still waiting for a breeze. Even the flowers. It was like summer in the American South. Everything limp and languid and smelling stronger than usual. That night, the moon hung like a giant peach glowing in the sky. A giant Georgia peach. The Summer Solstice was upon us.
The next day, I arose with tender thoughts of home and a yen to bake a Blue Horizon pie. It’s basically a lemon chess pie but I call it Blue Horizon as it reminds me of the song by Sidney Bechet. Each note hanging as long as it can just like each flavor does in every bite. Sticky and salty and lemony sweet.
1 cup granulated or caster sugar
1 cup demerara or turbinado sugar (for crunch)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 whole milk or evaporated milk for extra richness
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
4 large eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC/Gas 7.
Roll out pâte brisée and fit to a 9″ tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pie dough with a fork. Line the pastry with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Put the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the weights and whatever material you used to line the pastry. Return to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients saving the eggs for last. Incorporate those by gently stirring them into the mixture.
Place the tart pan on the cookie sheet. Now pour the mixture into the pie shell. Turn the oven temperature down to 350ºF/180ºC/Gas 4. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack and enjoy. I always serve this with a dollop of Greek yogurt for extra coolness and tang.
*I must add that my gorgeous friend, Miss Danielle Bell, over at de Porres is Queen of Most American Pies. And that a classic chess pie is one of her specialities. Please check it out.