You know how things can seem really promising, and then, after a lot of excitement and anticipation, they just don't pan out? Like when you look back over what was supposed to be a lavish, exhilarating, fulfilling summer and see that, even after all that planning, you just spent too much time on the couch wishing for air conditioning, you forgot about the cardamom-ginger pie crusts and left them in the oven all day, your washing machine still isn't working after four months and eight visits from the repairman, you look fat in all your beach pictures, your bank account is empty, your food photos are all coming out like crap because you don't have a decent way to light them, you boiled spaghetti in forty dollars' worth of Chianti but added too much water so it came out grey, you can't afford a pedicure to make yourself feel better and apparently after graduating from college you're underqualified to be a waitress in New York City?
Well, that's sort of like dragonfruit - lots of exotic, hot-pink promise; tastes like an over-ripe kiwi from WeightWatchers.
But - when life gives you bland, mushy dragonfruits...make key lime pie with a stiff layer of sweet meringue. And potpourri.
Key Lime Pie
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 large egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbs. key lime juice
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
Mix together crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter; press into bottom and sides of 9" pie pan and bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Place on rack to cool. (Do not pour filling into an uncooled crust.)
Beat egg yolks with electric mixer until thick and light yellow, about 3 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir in half of the juice until blended. Add remaining juice and blend in. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form; add sugar and beat just until combined. Spread meringue over pie filling, making sure it touches the crust on all sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until set.
Let cool to room temperature; chill and serve, garnished with twists of candied lime zest.
Spread your leftover key lime rinds on a baking sheet and dry them out in the oven at 150 degrees for four to five hours. They make the kitchen smell lovely and are a beautiful addition to a bowl of potpourri.
Now, maybe not all dragonfruits are bland and disappointing; I've only tried it once, after all. Maybe I just haven't learned how to single out a ripe, sweet dragonfruit yet. But I'm a very competent slice of pie if I do say so myself, and I'm sure I'll get it right the next time.
Crossing my fingers for autumn.
Thank you to everybody who emailed to say they missed me; your love, support and enthusiasm are very important to me and are deeply appreciated. Keep cooking =)