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IMG_1205A raspberry lemonade icebox meringue, inspired by Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy (or at least the first two books). When I recommended Red Rising to my friends, I said things like, “it is so good, you have to read it!” But when I tell people about the recently-released Golden Son, the second book of Pierce Brown’s action-packed trilogy (Morning Star to come), I simply deadpan: “it’s orgasmic.” Vivid, rich, and with pacing as sharp as a razor’s edge, this is definitely one of those series I will be recommending for years to come.

 

Spoiler-Free Summary:

Darrow is a red, the lowest class in the color-based Society, mining the surface of Mars for fuel that will bring the rest of the colors to colonize the planet. But when tragedy strikes, he discovers that the reds are being unknowingly enslaved: the other colors colonized Mars and expanded to the rest of the solar system long ago. Building on his natural intelligence and fearlessness, a rebel group, the Sons of Ares, transforms Darrow physically into one of the fastest, most lethal color: a gold. They insinuate him into the upper echelons of the Society’s ruling class to undermine and hopefully destroy the color system.

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Notes from the Piebrary:

When I think about this book, my brain just kind of leaks pure, unadulterated nerdbliss. While he has a strong commercial appeal, Brown definitely validates all that screaming into the void that geeks like me do about the literary value of speculative fiction. If science fiction just isn’t your “thing,” this is probably the best damn argument to get out of your comfort zone that I’ve ever read. The characters are deeply flawed and painfully endearing, the plot is utterly unpredictable and thoroughly engaging, and yet he never patronizes the reader, always expecting you to keep pace and it’s thrilling. The technology, the fight scenes, the stunningly vivid world building: not only do I see this book happening in my head, when I read it I can hear the damn score as well. That’s right, these space battles make me hear music.

 

Parsing this Pie:

The reasoning behind this one is real simple: this is Darrow’s pie. I wanted perfect, smooth lemon curd over a layer of gritty, unfiltered, bitter raspberry: bright gold masking grimy red, all of it scorched and cold as the void of space (okay, maybe not that cold). That’s what this book inspires me to do: create something sweet enough to set your teeth on edge, light it on fire, freeze it, and then throw myself face down into it.

This pie is a little decadent, which Darrow most certainly is not, but this pie requires patience, it’s a long term planner, this pie. Not to mention I really tried to get the colors as rich as possible and create an interesting textural contrast between the raspberry seeds, the smooth curd, and the sticky meringue. Personally, I think I did gorydamn well.

 

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Recipe:

Crust:
-1 cup flour
-1/3 cup butter
-3 tbs water

Raspberry reduction:
-5 cups frozen raspberries
-1 1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup flour

Lemon curd:
-5 egg yolks (save the whites!)
-1 cup sugar -5 tbs butter
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-zest of 3 lemons
-pinch of salt
Creamy Meringue (from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie):
-2/3 cup egg whites (about 4 eggs)
-1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bring crust ingredients together into a thorough ball, roll out, line pan. Blind bake lined with parchment paper until crisp and lightly browned.

Add the frozen raspberries to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow them to melt and cook down into a sauce. Break up the clumps of berries, but try to leave a few rough chunks to give it texture. Add the sugar and allow it to thicken. It should be a bit more viscous than simple juice, but you don’t want it so thick that it will congeal and become tough. Pour this into your pre-baked piecrust and place in the freezer for several hours. You want it to be solid enough that when you pour the lemon curd on top they will not mix.

For the lemon curd, in a saucepan not yet over heat beat the egg yolks and sugar, adding in the lemon juice, butter, and salt. Cook over medium low heat until opaque and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow it to boil! If it begins to steam, remove it from heat and give it time to chill out. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and mix in the lemon zest. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then pour over the chilled raspberry filling before returning it to the freezer.

IMG_1198 This meringue recipe is extremely simple, as promised by The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. Heat the egg whites in a double boiler (the water below should be simmering lightly) and incorporate the sugar, whisking constantly. My candy thermometer is currently MIA, but Paula Haney says it should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I just waited until the eggs had thickened, seemed to be holding slight peaks, and were giving off the faint smell of cooked egg. Pour into a mixing bowl and, using a hand mixer, beat the meringue until the sides of the bowl are cool and it has taken on the thick, fluffy consistency of marshmallow fluff and is holding peaks. Spread atop the frozen lemon curd immediately, torch at your pleasure, and return to the freezer, preferably overnight.

Cut this pie with a scythe and (hell)dive in.

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