key lime pie [and unproductivity]

Making the most of a sick day.

April 15, 2012

I don’t take well to being sick. Mostly because illnesses hit me hard. It’s been one of those weekends: unprompted illness surfacing yesterday – a common cold blown out of proportion in the drama-queen-esque way aspects of my life are wont to do, most likely – leaving me with a head full of cotton, throat sore and swollen, and achy limbs screaming out in protest of any sort of physical exertion.

Incidentally, I had set an alarm to get up early enough to hit the Farmer’s Market with Noosh. This resulted in me returning home with a cup full of vegan curry and rice and falling into a 4-hour nap that took up the entirety of what could have been a highly productive afternoon.

Well, damn it all, I hate losing precious time to silly things like napping.

In any case, I woke up around 4pm and basically didn’t want to get out of bed. So I didn’t, for about an hour, and then realized that we were supposed to head to the nearest 3D-friendly theater for Titanic in the evening, so threw off the covers and put on some stretchy pants. And as much as part of my soul died contributing to overpriced ticket sales for a movie that came out when I was 6, it was actually quite spectacular.

Plus, I was actually feeling pretty alright the whole way through – the acquisition of movie theater popcorn [the paradigm of junk food nirvana] kept me more than happy – until the drive back home when my meds decided to wear off. A really bitchy play to pull when my body knew it would be trapped in an iron cage going 70mph down a highway for an hour. I metaphorically rolled my eyes [because doing so literally would likely have contributed to the throbbing albeit rhythmic flamenco going on in my skull], held out until home, and immediately crashed.

Today’s been significantly better, though what I’ve gained back in cognitive lucidity I’ve lost in terms of any semblance of motivation for academics. Which is kind of a shame, since I’ve had a pretty fulfilling day in every other area of life. Tidying up some books around my room, a drive down to Whole Foods for a bag full of spring greens, planning out a week’s worth of meals, and baking a pie.

Key Lime Pie
A BakedBeen original.
Yields one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

For the crust, you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups pulverized ginger snap cookies [put enough cookies through a food processor until you have the right amount]
  • 2 heaping tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

For the filling, you’ll need:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup lime juice, fresh or bottled [to desired tartness]

For the whipped topping, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly butter a pie plate. Combine all crust ingredients with a fork until the mixture comes together. Press into the base and sides of the pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes and allow crust to cool while you make the filling.

To prepare the filling, beat egg yolks and lime zest on medium-high speed until light. Add condensed milk and beat for about 3 minutes. Slowly pour in the lime juice and beat until fully incorporated. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes, to thicken. Pour filling on top of the crust, smooth with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes. Allow pie to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Chill pie for at least 3 hours before topping.

To prepare the whipped topping, whisk heavy cream and sugar on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks, 2-3 minutes. Dollop the cream on top of the chilled pie. Garnish with fresh-grated lime zest or sliced limes if desired.

Really, though, it’s like my mind is doing everything possible not to have to write term papers [of which I have two], start preparing for a 10-minute long presentation [which I have in two days], or sit down and whine my way through financial math problems [which I’m just not even considering a pragmatic use of my time at the moment, mostly because I don’t like it]. Perhaps it’s some juvenile, melodramatic, psychological form of rebellion against my laziness from yesterday, since I now have the capabilities to actually get things done. I’ve always been a recalcitrant little snot, as it were.

So instead, I take my meds, sit on the couch with my feet propped up on the table, allow the sudden burst of 85 degree weather to make me unbelievably lazy, and skim through cookbooks. But, I mean, not doing work also resulted in the creation of this pie, so there’s a win in there somewhere, right?

Speaking of, this pie is glorious. I went with gingersnap instead of the typical graham-cracker crust because (1) it seemed unique, and (2) mom gave me an enormous bag of leftover gingersnap crumbs from her pie-baking endeavors a little while back and I wanted to put them to good use. The motivation was mostly the latter, particularly since the use of gingersnap cookies as a crust for key lime pie isn’t quite as unique as you’d think. In any case, I had never realized how damn easy making key lime pie is. [Not that I actually used key limes, because half the juice came from a bottle, but it sounds odd to refer to it simply as a ‘lime pie.’] Four ingredients whisked together, poured in a crust, and topped with a fluffy, sweetened cream.

And since this was a very welcome warm day after a bizarre, 50F average week, I figured a little celebration was in order. Even if it means I’ll be scrambling to get things done later in the week. But someone once told me that college is the one opportunity to make poor life choices…so I’ll go with it.

In fact, I may even have pie for dinner.

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