Arizona Sunshine {On a Plate}

For many of my friends, the words “easy” and “pie” should never appear together. Many people are afraid of pie, and how hard it is to make.

Not me. I love making pies. I find them much easier than cakes and cookies.

While people expect dry and arid, the desert can be very wet and cold!
It appears that, for most people, it is the fear of making the crust that paralyzes them. It’s true, making a good crust can be difficult... but I discovered early in my adult life that there are methods that are pretty easy.

Winter rains bring stunning wildflowers.
Making the crust in a food processor is a foolproof route to good results. This might not make the perfect, flaky crust your grandmother made (using lard), but I have never had anyone complain.

Two neighborhood friends: a Rufous hummingbird and a wester Screech Owl.
Today, I will share my food processor crust recipe with you, but also a filling that is pretty much sunshine in pie form.

While cacti do hurt, they also have incredible beauty.
In fact, it is called Arizona Sunshine Pie. I heard about it while buying veggies at the farmers market between Christmas and the New Year and it was on my table New Year’s Day.

The mission church of San Xavier del Bac is a local – and world – treasure.
Its corny name smacks of chamber-of-commerce boosterism, but who can’t use some sunshine in this season? And this is peak citrus season here in Arizona. I found quite a few recipes for Arizona Sunshine Pie online and they were all the same.

And we have sunsets that can make you cry from their beauty.
Me being me, I put my mark on the pie in two ways. First, I added a touch of Fiori di Sicilia extract to the batter. It adds a lovely floral quality. If you can’t find it, you can simply omit it. Second, after the first making, we all decide it needed to be more lemony, so I added the finely grated zest of a regular lemon to the filling.

And, since you have all seen lots of photos of eggs and sugar, as well as measuring spoons and cups here on the site, I thought is would be fun to share a few photos featuring the Arizona sunshine and all the beauty of our beloved Tucson!

~ David

Arizona Sunshine Pie

1 1/3 cups flour
8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water
1 whole organic Meyer lemon, about 5 ounces
finely grated zest of 1 organic Lisbon lemon
4 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
1 1/2 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Distribute chilled butter cubes over the flour. Pulse 12 times. Drizzle water over the flour/butter mixture and pulse until dough begins to clump around the base of the blade. Remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured board. Briefly knead into a ball, then flatten to a disc and, using a floured rolling pin, roll into an 11-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough in a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the edges, then crimp. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Wash the Meyer and Lisbon lemons well. Cut the Meyer lemon in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise. Cut the quarters into 1/4-inch slices. This will allow you to remove all the seeds. Using a micro plane or box grater, finely grate the zest of the Lisbon lemon. Reserve the rest of the Lisbon lemon for another use.

Place the Meyer lemon pieces (with skin) in a blender along with the grated zest. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, Fiori di Sicilia, and sugar. Blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust and bake for 40 minutes or until set.

Let the pie cool, then chill in the fridge or serve at room temperature.

Serves 8.

Labels: , , , , ,