Hello friends. I hope you’re all keeping well. The last several weeks have (strangely enough) held many moments of connection and encouragement for our family, including virtual church services, long video chat catch ups with faraway friends, and also just good quality time (and lots of it) among the three of us. I feel the weight of those who are sick or are caring for the sick, for those spending too much time in unhappy homes, and for those who are in uncertain economic situations…I could go on. I am sure all of this is on your mind also. Let’s all think of new ways we can reach out to those around us with love every day, within the confines of our current norm.
As is the way, we’ve been going out to grocery shop as little as possible. When we do, we are still so blessed in the variety of beautiful fresh food available to us. I am finding my local farm market to be a great place to go (especially first thing in the morning!)
But even with the abundance of fresh fruit and veg available to us, I did have a thought that this might be a good time to make a pie that features an ingredient I have looked for in multiple stores and never found…and I’m talking BEFORE coronavirus was a household term. Since I’d have to buy this ingredient online at some point, why not now?
This mystery ingredient I’m talking about is Red Currant Jelly, in order to make a (logically named) Red Currant Jelly Pie. I’d like to take a moment to congratulate this pie for being the first in a long time to force me into creating a brand new “category” for a blog post. Because honestly, it doesn’t fit into any of those I’ve created already…it’s close to, but not actually sugar pie…not quite legitimately summer fruit pie…nary a cream, custard, or chiffon involved…so now I have a Jelly Pie category all of its own.
Ken Haedrich is a wonderful writer and I love the detailed descriptions of various pie origins he includes in his cookbook. This was one of those times though that I gotta say Ken left me with more questions than answers. This sentence right here, “Jelly Pie is a relative of transparent pie.” And…? What, pray tell, is a transparent pie? Should I start another post category now?! How closely related are they; cousins? Mother and child? More research is needed on this front.
Here’s my cute kumquat-eating baby pie blog model, I hope she makes you smile. Some days she’s helpful in the kitchen. This day she was feeling helpful and I let her taste the jelly (in between kumquat bites).
Sidebar: If I ever were to figure out how to make a kumquat pie, Pippa would be thrilled. (Sidebar of Sidebar, Levi did make kumquat marmalade last night. He’s never made marmalade before. This is one of those things that’s partly related to having more forced time at home but also totally something he would have done anyway.)
ANYWAY here’s what the filling (a lot of butter, sugar, eggs, some cornmeal, and lemon juice, along with the red currant jelly) looks like when you’re beating it.
I made a mistake in the order of ingredients added, which sometimes happens when you have a 1 3/4 year old as your sous chef; namely, adding eggs prior to the liquefied jelly rather than after. I worried myself that the filling’s consistency wouldn’t be right as a result. But, having never made a pie of the jelly pie category before, I wouldn’t really have known what I expected to see in the first place. Spoiler alert, everything was fine.
As promised in the book description, the surface caramelized towards the end of baking, resulting in an almost crème brûlée type of situation. Really worth noting if you’re going to try baking this pie yourself; ten minutes before it’s done, you peek at it and it’s a strange pale color and you think it’s nowhere near done. And then within a short time the entire surface changes completely and looks harder, darker, and much more “finished”. A magical transformation.
I.e. a chemical transformation. Cause chemistry is magical.
Serve with whipped cream, unsweetened. It’s important. A cup of tea, too. Maybe a 2-4 player card game.
Levi described the flavor of this pie as similar to a key lime pie, in that there is both sweetness and tartness. So perhaps that’s the true relative here. Step aside, “transparent pie”, whatever you are.
Have a beautiful day, get some sunshine and fresh air if you can, and maybe bake something delicious. Peace be unto you.