Since last week’s lemon pie was ugly good, I had to do it again. This time with less eggs and a touch of Provence—did you hear my voice turn uppity right there?—with a few drops of pure lavender oil. I mainly use lavender oil on mosquito bites and in dreams (a crunchy Swedish cookie; we baked some for our wedding) but my friend Jacqui uses lavender oil to doctor up her red beans. You can (and should) barely taste it. Lavender oil should be there to perk up the background, like flowery wallpaper.
When it comes to baking, there is magic in numbers. A lot of people are afraid of baking, and consider it chemistry and separate from cooking. I don’t understand why. As long as you have a basic understanding of proportions (liquid to dry), you can improvise. If you know what happens to eggs in heat, and understand how yeast and leavening work, you’ll probably do fine. When I’m working on a new recipe, I try to keep the measurements simple. It usually turns out better. Here, I pretty much stuck with the number four, which was a good idea, as it turns out.
Revised recipe for lemon pie filling:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons half-and-half
4 drops lavender oil
Zest and juice lemons. Stir lemon juice and sugar together in a sauce pan. Warm and stir until sugar dissolves. Add butter and let it melt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with lemon zest and half-and-half. Add lavender oil. Pour egg mixture into juice mixture in the saucepan and warm while whisking constantly until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and pour into a pre-baked pie shell immediately. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until filling is set. Cool, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.