My Valentine’s day was pretty much perfect. Bernie and I spent a night in cooking and spending some quality time together without distractions. There was one major snafu – I totally screwed up our dinner.
I found a recipe for blue cheese crusted filet Mignon (hmmmm, yummm). But when Bernie and I went to the grocery store, they didn’t have the right cuts of meat. So we settled on tenderloin steaks thinking, “this should work, right?” Well, not so much. Everything was going really well; the red wine sauce was reducing, the potatoes for the mash were boiling, and the oven was ready. I took the meat out, and thought, “okay, I gotta butcher this.” I took off some of the silverskin left and the hard white stuff in the meat (what is this?) and before I knew it, our 8 oz steaks turned into 6 2oz steaks. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Luckily, Bernie is an extremely easy going person and thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I like to think that I’m a pretty decent cook, but I don’t work with red meat very often. I actually didn’t eat red meat at all for years, so I never learned to prepare it. The only thing I know how to make is burgers on a grill. Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing with the meat. After some angry pouting, we decided to try and order food. We ended up getting pizza. So Bernie and Sarah had pizza on Valentine’s day, and I loved every second of it. Sometimes it’s okay if things don’t go exactly as you expect them to. I got over it, and we moved on. This year will always be known as the year we had pizza for dinner because Sarah didn’t know how to butcher meat properly. Yup, I love him.
But one thing did go right – the dessert! I made a key lime pie to surprise Bernie for dessert. He hates chocolate, but loves a lot of fruit-based desserts, so I made him one of his favorites. I found the recipe on Food Network’s website – it’s one of Giada’s recipes. You can find it in detail here, but I thought I’d give you a quick overview. It was much easier than I thought it would be and turned out really great.
- a 9inch pie tin
- a box of graham crackers
- 5 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice or bottled (I used about 6 limes to get 2/3 cup juice)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Step 1: The Crust
Preheat the oven to 350. Take out one sleeve of graham crackers from the box (1/3 the box) and crush the crackers to small crumbs. The recipe calls for using a food processor – I don’t have one – so I put them in a plastic bag and used a glass to crush them.
Once the crackers are all crushed, mix them in a bowl with the melted butter and 1/3 cup sugar until it’s all mixed together. This is your pie crust. It may look really dry, but it isn’t, promise. Then pour it into the pie tin and push it down gently to form the crust. Make sure to push it up the sides of the tin. I ended up having extra crust.
Place the pie shell in the oven for 8 minutes. Once it’s done, take it out and put on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on.
Step 2: The Filling
Using an electric mixer, mix the egg yolks and lime zest until it gets fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remember when you zest the lime, don’t zest it all the way down to the white below the green outside. This white part is much more bitter and not good.
Next, gradually add the condensed milk and beat the mixture until thick, about 3-4 minutes longer.
Lower the speed of the mixer and add the lime juice slowly. Mix until just combined and then pour the mixture into your pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
Once it was done, I let it cool until it no longer felt warm to the touch, and then I refrigerated the pie overnight.
Step 3: Whip Cream Topping
This step was the easiest! When I was ready to bring it to Bernie’s for V-day, I made the whip cream topping. You want to do this step last before it’s time to serve – it’s fresher and better this way. Put the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip on high until you get “stiff peaks”.
Then I put the whipped cream on top of the pie. I had whipped cream left over, but I wish I had put more on the pie, so feel free to put on as much as you’d like. Then serve! I put the pie in the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to make it super cold.
Overall, the pie was awesome. I love a super tart pie, and I don’t know if it was the particular limes I used or not, but it was TART! I didn’t use key limes – I couldn’t find any in the store or any bottled key lime juice – so I used normal limes. I loved this pie and so did Bernie. I hope you enjoy it too! 🙂
Readers: How was your Valentine’s day? How did you celebrate? Have you ever failed during an important dinner?