Monday, April 29, 2013

Fabiola and Lavender


My mother lives somewhere I like to call heaven. Every time I visit Mexico I make sure to have some days to dedicate to her. A couple of hours outside of Mexico City, she found a perfect haven. Abundant sunny skies, greener here, visiting blue birds, hopping bunnies, daring squirrels and the most beautiful variety of flowers are thrown in together to create the beautiful place my mom calls home.

Growing on the back terrace, she has countless herbs and flowers. The way she cares for them reminds me of a fairy, she just naturally knows when they need water, sun, more soil, or just some comforting words. Surrounding the house on one side, there lives a fragrant row of lavender. It sways with the wind and feeds the bees daily, making itself very at home. It gives off that magnificent scent that brings back those memories. A grandmother’s vanity , the anticipated beginning of spring, or a piece of Provence you brought back in your suitcase a long time ago.

On my latest trip I was, as usual, prompt to cook something to share with friends.
Something sweet was a must.
Something fresh was obvious.
Something colorful for fun.
Something fragrant for the love of it.
Lemon Lavender Meringue Pie it is.

I used Alton Brown’s lemon meringue pie, obviously. But created the lavender meringue by easily grinding the sugar for the meringue with lavender, it was subtle and fragrant, perfect for the spring day we enjoyed with friends.
*cooking with lavender is extremely easy. Just pick some beautiful flowered lavender stems and pluck out the “seed looking” part of it. Not the petals or the stem, but whatever that part is called from it. Use them fresh or let them dry and Voila! Make scones, syrup, pancakes, ice cream, anything that could benefit from a fragrant and fresh taste. 

4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)

1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell
About 2 Tablespoons fresh lavender or about 1/2 teaspoon dry lavender.                                                    3 Tablespoons sugar                                                                                                                             One pinch cream of tartar


Meringue- Take 3 tablespoons of sugar and the lavender and place them in a coffee grinder. Pulse several times until the lavender has been cut into small pieces and is mixed in the with sugar. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until they become foamy. Beat in the lavender sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the egg whites until they become shiny and stiff and hold peaks.
make some art with your meringue! Do not over beat though! 

PhotoAdjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.


The pie turned out sweet, fresh, colorful and fragrant, and will always remind me of my mother. I have realized that the reason I believe she resides in a heavenly place is only because she is there. And I will always think of her as my personal heaven, waiting for me with open arms and just the right amount of lavender fragrance.

My mother enjoying the pie.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, you made my mouth water and my eyes cry.I feel proud of you and blessed to have three great daughters. Wow, you're a chef, writer, dancer Sammy. Love ya