Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

Cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
Three point one four one five nine,
Square root, cube root, BTU,
Sequence, series, limits too. Rah.

—Unofficial UChicago football cheer

(See here for a fantastically written article about a very nerdy tradition at my school, which is the nerdiest of the nerdy)

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

(Themistocles, Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War,
X squared, Y squared, H2SO4.
Who for? What for? Who we gonna yell for?
Go, Maroons.

Logarithm, biorhythm, entropy, kinetics,
MPC, GNP, bioenergetics!
Maximize and integrate, titrate and equilibrate—
Go, Maroons.)

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy Pi Day!
3.14, and I’m posting this at 1:59 so we get 3.14159.
(Last year, 3/14/15, at 9:26:53, the date was 10 digits of Pi!)

Pretty much every baking/food blogger is sharing a pie today.  It’s only right, right?
Shamefully, I’ve never shared a pie on Pi day.
I haven’t shared many pies at all, truth be told.  Which is weird, because I really like making and eating pie.
My last pie was made at Thanksgiving, and it was this insane apple, poached pear, butterscotch, and cheddar cheese beaut.  It was even shared on Buzzfeed (woot!) but has since faded into the recesses of my mind/tastebuds/blog archives.

If you want real (and regularly scheduled) pie envy, go see Michelle, who has undertaken a pie a month for 2016. Color me inspired! Her pies are gorgeous and her photography of late has been b o m b.
High fives, Michelle! Keep being the most impressive, please and thank you!

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

The pie I’m sharing today is definitely worthy of reviving the pie portion of my site.
It’s a creamy, custardy lime pie, full of sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks in a crunchy, buttery, toasty graham cracker crust topped with brûléed suprèmes of white and ruby red grapefruit and a navel orange.

It’s mostly the classic key lime pie (less the key limes) from the back of the sweetened condensed milk can, with the addition of a non store-bought graham crust and a heap of torched, bittersweet citrus segments.
The creamy filling contrasts brilliantly with the slightly bitter, sour fruit and the sweet, wheat-y crust.
Key lime pie has always—and will always—be in my personal favorite top 3 pie flavors.

I dropped this off at N’s fraternity house, and it was demolished. According to one ~taste tester~, my good friend Colton, it was “unreal” and “like an addiction,” as in, none of them could stop eating it, even if they tried.
Not only does this make me very happy, but it’s also a good indication of how yummy this combination is!

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

One last note about this pie…
In spite of the title of this post, there is no need to suprème your fruit. Seriously.

Unless you’re thinking to yourself: “YES. this is what I went to culinary school for 2 years for!  My time to shine!” or
“what’s the big deal about suprèming? I do it every Sunday for my weekly goat cheese, blood orange, and arugula salad!”
then it’s probably not worth it.
Slice up your peeled fruits like this, or cut ’em like this.

If, like me, you’ve seen this technique done on T.V. but have never had any formal knife skill training and are still silly enough to want to try it, please buy extra citrus fruits.
Because it’s kind of a pain and you’ll probably mash a lot of segments along the way. I know I did.

No matter how the citrus is arranged on top of the pie, it will be delicious and beautiful.  Just a word of warning advice.

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie | La Pêche Fraîche

Brûléed Citrus and Lime Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie

300 grams (2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
112 grams (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter, melted
pinch salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

for the filling and topping:
400 grams (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
135 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) lime juice (I used 2 limes and 1 lemon)
5 egg yolks

1 white grapefruit
1 ruby red grapefruit
1 navel orange
turbinado sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and ready a 9-inch pie dish.
Stir graham cracker crumbs, butter, salt, and sugar together until sandy and coarse.
Firmly press into pan using your fingers and a measuring cup.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, then remove and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks together vigorously until a smooth and homogenous mixture forms.
Pour into cooling pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely, at least 1 hour + some time in the fridge.
In the meantime, suprème your grapefruits and orange and arrange on a plate the way you want them.
When the pie is cool, lightly dry each slice of citrus with a paper towel and arrange on top of the pie.
Sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top (liberally) and brûlée with a blow torch.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Naughty To Nice

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Where do you stand with Mr. S. Claus?

Chocolate, sour cherry, and coconut cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Worry not, my friend.
Though I have been a bad blogger and neglected to share any holly-day recipes around here (Oreo cupcakes?! In December? Ugh!), I am now swooping in clutching everything you need to go from the Naughty list to the Nice.

Say farewell to Santa’s shit list.
These cookies are a guaranteed hit.

Grapefruit Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

These cookies (and the caramels pictured, too) were bundled up and gifted to friends, all a jumble of holiday cheer and spirit sugar.

The first are grapefruit butter cookies, crinkled and cracked and crisp in their sugary coating.  They’re ever so slightly fragrant thanks to grapefruit zest and juice, which cuts gently through their buttery richness.

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Next come soft and chewy dark and white chocolate, coconut, and sour cherry cookies.  They’re full of brown sugar and stay soft for days (the trick is the cornstarch!).  They strike a perfect balance between salty and sweet, and are chockfull of bits and pieces without being overwhelmed by additions.

Finally, my favorite, and arguably the most interesting cookies I’ve made in a while: dark chocolate pecan snowcaps.
These cookies are made without butter or flour or any fat or grains—choose your chocolate correctly, and these are gluten and dairy free.
They’re dead simple: powdered sugar and dark cocoa powder, salt, pecans, chopped chocolate, egg whites.
The batter looks like thick black sludge, but once each piece of dough is rolled in Swedish peal sugar, it looks like a little snow ball.
Once baked, they’re crispy and ethereally light on the exterior, but soft and chewy on the inside.  The chopped milk chocolate is sweet and a good contrast to the deeply chocolaty exterior; the pecans add a wonderful toasty flavor, and the sugar-coated, crackled outside is tempered by a pinch of salt in the cookie itself.
This is cookie perfection, guys.
Simple and surprising!

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche
Here’s to cookie-filled holidays!
Stay posted for more giftable treats…

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate, Sour Cherry, and Coconut Cookies
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 24 cookies

2 1/4 cups (280 grams) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup (170 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sour cherries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk melted butter, sugars, and salt together.
Vigorously whisk in egg and egg yolk, then whisk in the vanilla.
Batter should be light colored and smooth.
Place flour, baking soda, and cornstarch on top of batter and stir to combine.
Stir in coconut, cherries, and chocolates until mixture is homogeneous.
Scoop out 2 tablespoon size balls and roll to uniform size.
Place on baking sheets and chill/freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake each sheet straight from the freezer for 12 minutes.
Remove and let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Grapefruit Butter Cookies
adapted from Cooking Classy
makes 30 cookies

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons butter, soft
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1 grapefruit
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
juice of 1/2 grapefruit (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
granulated sugar, for rolling

Place butter, sugar, salt, and the grapefruit zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high for 5 full minutes, until very light and fluffy and not gritty.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the egg and egg yolk; beat for 5 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the grapefruit juice and vanilla extract; mix briefly to combine.
Add in the flour and baking powder and stir until homogeneous.
Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions and roll to uniform size; gently roll in granulated sugar to coat.
Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake straight from the fridge or freezer for 12 minutes.
Move to wire rack immediately to cool.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Snowcaps
adapted from Kim Severson
makes 30 cookies

3 cups (300 grams) confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup (90 grams) dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces (135 grams) chocolate, chopped (she suggests dark, I used what I had—milk—and they turned out fabulously)
1 1/2 cups (135 grams) chopped pecans
4 large egg whites
granulated and Swedish pearl sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together.
Stir in the chopped chocolate and chopped pecans.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the egg whites—keep stirring until the batter comes together in a very thick, shiny mass (this is an arm workout!).
Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions and roll in a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of pearl and granulated sugar; shape into a uniform ball once the sticky dough has been rolled in sugar and is easier to handle.
Bake the cookies from room temperature for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Chiaroscuro LARGE


blackberry caviar, coconut mousse, coconut crumb, coconut yolk, blackberry puree

Chiaroscuro SMALL II

Hi!  To any newcomers, welcome to my blog, and welcome to my project for UChicago’s spring Festival of the Arts!

(I’ll post more explaining this post-presentation, for all you laypeople.)

////// Okay!  SO Hi!  Yes!  Presentation went off without a hitch. \\\\\\

I gave a 7-ish minute spiel about molecular gastronomy, this here blog, my weird love of reverse frozen spherification, and the three desserts you see here, which were funded by FOTA.

Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself too badly (I definitely did).Chiaroscuro SMALL I

Contrast, made edible.  Fruity, creamy, crunchy, chewy.

Why are there so many seeds in blackberries?  Getting ultra-smooth puree is a pain in the ass.

Fragola LARGE


black pepper cheesecake, lemon curd, lemon sorbet, ginger black pepper sand, walnuts, candied lemons, creme fraiche, honey

Fragola SMALL I

Early summer on a plate.  Spicy, sour, rich, fresh.

PSA: candied lemons are so incredibly addictive.  So is lemon curd.  OMg.

Fragola SMALL II

For my live presentation, I made a deconstructed strawberry pie: strawberry yolk, yogurt cream, 5-spice milk sand.
Simple, delicious.



mango yolk, watermelon tartar, avocado mousse,  lime curd, creme fraiche, grapefruit


A play on tuna tartare with raw egg yolk.  Tropical, crunchy, herb-y, tangy.
(There is nothing quite like cold watermelon on a hot day, amirite?!)


Happy to provide any of the recipes pictured for my fellow molecular nuts!

Ruby Tuesday


Throw your dreams
into space

like a kite

and you do not know
what it will bring back,
a new life,
a new friend,
a new love,
a new country.

-Anaïs Nin


 La la lala link love time!

Appropriate, because it’s the time of year to share our love and appreciation far and wide.
It’s also the time of year for pink.
This batch of links features pink, flowers, and love songs.

Sounds like Valentine’s day to me already!

(Click on these links, and you do not know what they will bring back, a new life a new friend, a new love, a new country cake.)


Have you seen “Her”?  The one where Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with Scarlett Johansson’s computer voice?
I haven’t (yet), but their version of “The Moon Song” melts my heart.
I love ukeleles and I do not care how cliché they are.
I also don’t care if “Her” was featured on every female blogger’s most recent “link love” post.

Also listening: February Seven by The Avett Brothers.
They’re such amazing songwriters… This one is no exception.
A real feel-good song.  Give it a listen!
(If you aren’t familiar with their stuff, go listen to all of it.  Ahhh, the feels.)

More music: this song by Gregory Alan Isakov.  Heart-melting.  That is all.


Annie’s blood orange loaf cake was an instant hit with teh internetz, and holy jeebus I SEE WHY.
Look how beautifully pink it is!!
Pinned pinned pinned.
That last shot especially looks pulled straight from the pages of Donna Hay or Martha Stewart.
Put it on your to-make list, people.  It’s on mine.
(This fits the bill of my recent obsession with loaf cakes.)

Also, blood oranges: did you catch this gorgeous tart?
I love the styling of Kelsey’s entire blog, and this post in particular.
Capturing the marvel of a cook’s hands in action is particularly difficult, and these photos knocked my socks off.
That ring!

More blood oranges: these scones!  Rustic.  Healthy-ish.  Gorgeous.  And I’ll bet deeelicious.


 I recently bought this coconut water gelée blush, which has coconut water and argan oil for moisture.
My skin (especially here in Chiberia) is super prone to dryness, but maintaining a proper oil/dryness balance is critical and touchy.  Too much either way and my face is unhappy.
This stuff is dreamy and solves all those issues.
Perfectly hydrating, light and dewey color, applies easily (stipple brush) and has serious staying power.
Also, coconut.  For life.

Also luxuriating: I generally only wear Chanel Chance (Eau Fraîche), but I decided I wanted a lighter, airier fragrance to have on the side, so I bought a little bottle of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue.
It’s grapefruity and smells like summer and clean laundry.
Exactly what I was looking for.
I like smelling like a warm breeze of sunshiney goodness during these cold, dark times. (Ugh.)

More luxury: L’Occitane’s floral bomb of a hand cream (Délice des Fleurs, which I can’t find online, sorry), good for daytime light wear to ward off cracked, dry hands in the winter.
That being said, I swear by a thick slathering of Hand Shit (frankly obsessed with the complex honeysuckle sage scent) on my hands and feet before bed to really ensure softness.


So, these little cutie puddings you’ve been staring at.  Let’s chat about ’em.

grapefruit + cream + thyme + salty pistachios + buttery Ritz crunch

Possets are unbelievably easy: boil some cream and sugar, stir in citrus juice, and allow to set.
Here, their creamy, luscious texture is offset with crunchy, salty things, and the tang from the grapefruit is balanced with earthy thyme.

I decided to add a drop of red food coloring because I really, really, really wanted pink possets.
Feel free to leave it out; your possets will be a lovely cream color.

Don’t skimp on the whipped cream to finish!  Its a nice fluffy counterpart.
To eat, encourage people to do a little stirring to evenly distribute the crunchy bits before tucking in.
Getting a spoonful with a little bit of everything is truly transcendent.

These are simple, no-bake, and easily made ahead (as prep for a Valentine’s day dinner, perhaps!).
Also, pink.  I’m getting in the spirit.


Grapefruit Possets
makes 4 small bowls or cups
posset portion adapted from Donna Hay

for the possets:
2 cups heavy (double) cream
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (from 1/2 a grapefruit) grapefruit juice
drop of red food coloring, if desired

for the Ritz crumble:
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers, slightly crushed (but not into fine crumbs)
3 tablespoons butter
big pinch salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon milk powder

to assemble:
chopped salted pistachios
thyme leaves
softly whipped cream

Make the possets: place the cream, sugar, and a drop of red food coloring (optional) into a small saucepot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent a skin from forming.
Boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in grapefruit juice; set aside for 5 minutes.
Ready 4 small (3/4 cup capacity) bowls or ramekins by placing on a baking sheet or in a baking pan that fits in your fridge.
After 5 minutes, pour the posset mixture into the ramekins and set in the fridge to set, at least 8 hours.
Make the ritz crunch: melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet.
Add the sugar, salt, milk powder, and Ritz crackers and stir until all the butter is absorbed and the seasonings are stuck to the crackers, about 5 minutes.
Continue to gently stir and toast, until the crunch becomes fragrant and begins to darken slightly; about 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely; can be stored in an airtight container for up to a day.
To finish the possets, garnish each with a sprig of thyme and a few chopped pistachios; top with ritz crunch and softly whipped (unsweetened) cream.

Handle With Care

Here I was, thinking it was almost spring. 
I got bold, even walking my dog without a coat, exclaiming to passerby, “feels like spring!”
I thought greedy thoughts, about fresh strawberries and rhubarb, about green grass and flowers.
It’s been snowing intermittently for the past three days.
It’s cold and grey, once again.
And to be honest, not a one of my town’s inhabitants is surprised.
This weather is all too typical.
Our spring is fragile, tender.
Tonight, we may even have an ice storm.  I look outside right now and see flakes pouring down , whirling in strong gusts of wind.
But what is there to do but to enjoy the brief spans while we can? 
 Snow comes, melts, flowers spring forth, life begins again. 
 I’m patiently waiting.
In like a lion, out like a lamb.
These cookies are as fragile as Ithaca’s first sign of spring.
They’re crispy on the outside, and filled with a gloriously honey-laden curd.
They’re a relatively healthy little treat, one that is so light that it melts on the tongue.
I’ll enjoy these little snow caps for now, as I wait for those outside my window to melt.
Honey-Ginger Grapefruit Curd
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg yolk
1 egg
big pinch sea salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
juice from a 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated and pressed through a strainer
Reduce the grapefruit juice by half in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer and allow to reduce.  Juice will still be thin- don’t worry.  Allow to cool for 2 minutes.
In another saucepan, whisk the eggs, butter, salt, and honey together.  
Slowly drizzle in grapefruit juice while constantly whisking, until all is incorporated.  
Stir in lemon and ginger juice.
Heat over low heat, whisking all the while, until curd has thickened (enough that when you drag a spatula across the bottom of the pan, the track stays clear for at least 3 seconds), butter has melted and incorporated, and the whole shebang looks very shiny and thick.
Remove from heat and press through a strainer. Discard any bits.
Chill until thickened. 
Enjoy spread between cookies, in yogurt, or by the spoonful!
Simplest Meringue Cookies:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar, pulsed in food processor for 30 seconds to make superfine sugar, or 1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Combine your egg whites and cream of tartar in a very clean bowl and begin to whip.  
Once they are foamy, slowly add about a tablespoon of sugar.  
Continue to add in the sugar very gradually until all the sugar is gone and the meringue has reached stiff peaks.
Place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe small stars, or use two teaspoons to portion out little mounds.  
Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating regularly to prevent overcooking in any one place.
Turn off the oven.
Once done, the meringues should still be white and should easily release from the parchment paper. 
Allow to cool in the oven; prop the door open with a wooden spoon.  
Allow to fully cool, then sandwich some curd between two and enjoy!