Sunday, January 25, 2009

Key Lime Pie. Part III of Mr. F. and I

Image from {flickr}

I used to think that men were not schemers. Perhaps this was because no guy was ever interested enough in me to go to the trouble of scheming. (O.k. I take that back. There was one time.) It seemed like I was the one who was always trying to plan events so as to “get to know someone a little bit better.” (I try not to think about the dessert party I threw for a particular classical pianist where everyone came EXCEPT the person for whom it was intended. Not that I am still harboring feelings of resentment and embarrassment.) Also, most of the guys I knew never even HAD to scheme, as women were practically falling into their laps, desperate for their attention.

So when B called to say that Mr. F. was hosting a dinner party for some of the single people in the area, I took it at face value. I was clueless to the fact that Mr. F. had no intention of waiting the three weeks until our first date to see me again and had enlisted B as an accomplice in finagling a situation where we would interact. However, I don’t think he intended B to call me at the last minute to invite me either.

*****************

FRIDAY NIGHT

B: What are you doing this weekend? Are you available?
Lady Susan: Do you want to be more specific? The weekend takes up 2 ½ days. My availability depends on the specific time within that 2 and ½ day stretch.

B: What about Saturday.

Lady Susan: I was planning on spending the day in A*******. I thought I would fun to check out Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Maybe catch a movie and grab a burrito for dinner. You know, make a day of it.

B: Well [Mr. F.] is having a dinner party Saturday night for the young adults in the area. He told me to wrangle up a crowd. Do you want to go?

Lady Susan hems and haws. She wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. F. again before their date in a few weeks, and it sounded pretty nice.

Lady Susan: I guess I could make it back in time for dinner.

B: Cool. You should probably call Mr. F. for directions to his house.

*******************

Dinner was nice. It ended up being me, B, J, and Mr. F. Yeah, a tad bit awkward being a lone girl in a company of boys. Later I learned that they had invited some other gals but they couldn’t make it. J was characteristically silent, B and I characteristically battled with words in a semi-antagonistic manner, and Mr. F. watched and occasionally sided with me in my arguments with B, which showed his good sense. Dinner consisted of some sort of spicy beef and rice lettuce wraps and a green salad with a homemade Asian-flair sesame dressing. It was good, but not swoon worthy. Still I was impressed that he could successfully make a meal--always a good sign in a man.

However, Mr. F. comes from the school of not laying all of the cards on the table—Having an “ace in the hole”, so to speak. His “ace in the hole” happened to be dessert.

Oh! Dessert!

Mr. F. had made not one, but two desserts: a chocolate chip cheesecake and a key lime pie.

Oh! *Swoon* Here is the way to woo a woman: bake lovely delicacies from scratch. At least, that is the way to this woman’s heart. The desserts were good, especially the key lime pie, which was swoon-worthy.

Before dinner, I thought that Mr. F. was a rather nice fellow. However, after I tasted that key lime pie, I knew that this was a man worthy of my admiration.


The next day he emailed me the recipe. (Sneaky that. “Oh, I have to get your email so that I can send you the recipe.”) Which of course opened up the conduits of email as another acceptable mode of interaction.

Swoon-worthy Key Lime Pie

Lime Filling

4 teaspoons grated lime zest
½ cup strained juice from 3 or 4 limes
4 large egg yolks
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Graham Cracker Crust

9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped Cream Topping

¾ cup chilled heavy cream
¾ cup confectioners' sugar

Whisk the zest and yolks in a medium nonreactive bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes. Beat in the condensed milk, then the juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken (about 30 minutes).

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine, about 20 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate, using your thumb and a ½ cup measuring cup to square off the top of the crust. Bake the crust until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Pour the lime filling into the crust; bake until the center is set yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes. Return the pie to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (The pie can be covered directly with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

Up to 2 hours before serving, whip the cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer to very soft peaks. Adding the confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe the whipped cream over the filling or spread the whipped cream evenly with a rubber spatula

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