As a Catholic, I know darn well when Ash Wednesday falls. As a New Orleans non-resident, casual tourist and accidental hipster, I had no idea that Mardi Gras was not limited to the weekend before Fat Tuesday, and evidently we booked our Anniversary weekend getaway smack dab in the middle of the Crescent City’s biggest party.
This suggests that we are way cooler than we are, so here is a summary of our wonderful weekend via Instagram.
There’s a little farm stand on the North Fork of Long Island that is lined with the usual local produce; potatoes, peaches maybe some tomatoes and sweet corn. But if you look beyond the earthy wooden tables you’ll no doubt notice a line formed outside of an unassuming white door propped ajar by someone’s flip flop.
They’re not waiting for a secret stash of broccoli, they’re waiting for pie.
In exchange for a small fortune ($28-$36 per) pie nirvana awaits. Sure, you can choose the fresh-baked apple, cherry, or strawberry-rhubarb, but people are not paying premium prices for the usual, they’re there for something you can’t find anywhere else–the fruit cream pies.
Now, if you think you have any idea what I’m talking about and it includes a tub of Cool Whip or a package of cream cheese best suited for a bagel, then we might have to fight. No, it’s not a whipped topping dessert or a cheesecake with a can of fruit on top, it’s a delicate Chantilly-like cream with a body, filling and gravity-defying dome of fresh fruit that might cause you to weep at its exquisiteness.
What also may cause tears is if you happen to try to find the recipe. Google will mock you, message board posters will ridicule you, but your soul will beg you to find it. But you can’t because apparently the angels wrote the recipe with disappearing halo dust and all traces are gone, just a crumb trail back to the Mt. Olympus boulangerie.
So, for humanity’s sake and my attempt at World peace, here is my very best recreation of the greatest pie in the world. Rest assured I will continue my efforts to perfect it until I can charge you a couple of Jacksons, too.
Fresh Raspberry Cream Pie (like Rieremere-Bay) Filling
2 cups fresh ricotta (or drained store bought)
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
12-16 oz fresh raspberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cherry or raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
1/4 c. tapioca
1 Deep dish pie crust shell, baked
1.) Prepare pie shell. The crust isn’t the star of the show here, so use something easy even it’s pre-made or frozen.
2.) Prepare the topping by bringing the raspberries, water, sugar, liqueur, to a gentle boil, just until the berries begin to break down, leaving some whole. Turn off the heat and stir in the tapioca. Let stand about 20 minutes. Chill.
3.) In a cold mixing bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar with the ricotta and vanilla until fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl. Rinse out the mixing bowl in COLD water, dry, and whip the cream with remaining 1/2 cup sugar until fairly stiff–about 3-5 minutes.
4.) Gently fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture just until combined, then fill the pie shell. Chill for at least an hour until firm.
5.) Top the chilled pie with the chilled fruit topping and then chill again. Chill, baby, chill.
6.) Invite your very best friends or someone in the position to give you a promotion or money and a neurosurgeon standing by because it will blow your mind.