a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
If my last meal on Earth involves any kind of lemon dessert I will leave this planet a happy woman.
I always pick out the lemon dessert on a restaurant menu but I rarely make lemon treats at home; perhaps because I know they would disappear too quickly? This lemon pie, however, will make a regular appearance in my tea foodie kitchen. In fact, I’ve already made different versions of it at least four times in the last six months. I’m obsessed.
I’m giving you my jasmine tea inspired version of this pie, where you infuse the filling with jasmine tea steeped milk and then use the steeped tea leaves themselves in the piecrust. Feel free to explore other flavor infusions…earl grey, lavender, or cardamom come to mind. You can also explore other citrus options…blood orange, lime, or grapefruit perhaps.
I’m normally afraid of homemade piecrust recipes, but this one is seriously one of the easiest I’ve ever made. So don’t sweat it…you got this!
Happy cooking and sipping!
P.S. For the jasmine tea leaves, I used Adagio’s Jasmine Yin Hao, a beautiful silver-tipped jasmine from the Fujian province of China. I was pleased that the strong aroma and flavor of jasmine from the tea really came through in the lemon pie.
Adapted from the Mary’s Lemon Sponge Pie recipe in Ian Knauer’s cookbook The Farm.
Makes 1 pie
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons of the steeped jasmine tea leaves (see filling)*
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon loose leaf jasmine tea leaves*
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch kosher salt
*You’ll be steeping jasmine tea leaves in the milk for the filling and then using the leftover steeped tea leaves in the piecrust.
Prepare the tea infusion: Bring the milk for the filling just barely to a boil. Remove from heat, add tea leaves, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve both the infused milk and the steeped tea leaves. Let both cool completely before using in the crust and filling preparation.
Make the piecrust: Use your hands or a pastry cutter to work flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt together until mostly combined into a lumpy, buttery crumble like mixture. Using a fork to stir in 2 tablespoons of the cooled, steeped tea leaves. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of the cold water at a time until mixture comes together enough that it will press into a disk of dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Make the filling: Combine sugar, butter, egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cooled, tea-infused milk. Use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently, but quickly, fold the whipped egg whites into the lemon mixture in two or three batches.
Bake the pie: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll dough out to about an 11-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie tin with the dough and crimp or pinch the edges into a design of your choice. (I like to use the tines of a fork to press a rustic pattern around the outside.) Pour the filling into the piecrust and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower to oven temp to 350 and bake until filling is just set, 35 to 40 more minutes. (In my experience, the pie is set when it doesn’t jiggle anymore and the top starts to crack or the sides start to pull away from the crust. The exact time for it to set has varied each time I’ve made it.)
Enjoy the pie: Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving. If you have any leftover pie, cover and refrigerate it. It’s good for a couple of days…but I seriously doubt it’ll last that long.