Ginger Biscuit and Lemon Cream Pie
At the beginning of February, celebrated food writer Diana Henry put a call out on twitter.
‘RECIPES FROM YOUR MOTHER,’ she announced in bold capitals. ‘Looking for people who have handwritten recipes – from their mother or grandmother – which they cherish.’
‘I do!’ I replied enthusiastically. ‘And a handwritten record of every dinner party menu she ever served from 1982-1987.’
A few emails later, my mum and I found ourselves chatting to Diana on the telephone, answering a flurry of questions for a Mother’s Day feature in the Telegraph Magazine. It’s out this Saturday and should include my mum’s famous recipe for Braised Chicken with Watercress.
Our involvement in the article sparked a flurry of conversations about food, family and our culinary DNA. If my mum made me the cook I am today, then her mum must be equally present in my kitchen. I realised the truth of this when my gran sent me her own tattered collection of handwritten recipes.
A tantalising time capsule from the 1960s, its food-splattered pages are filled with recipes both alien and wonderfully familiar. I’m glad I’ve never had to try Chicken, Orange and Banana Salad, but I can’t imagine life without my gran’s Ginger Hedgehog, a curious confection made from biscuits, sweetened cream and blanched almonds.
The book is stuffed with other people’s recipes too, scrawled on scraps of paper and post-it notes that lost their stickiness long ago. One of them, written in my mother’s hand, immediately catches my eye. On the reverse of a letter dated November 2nd 1981 she’s shared a recipe for Normandy Chicken, a delicious footnote to what is otherwise a fairly unremarkable note.
For those of us who have grown up eating it, the recipe I’m sharing today is known simply as Lemon Ginger. A pie, but only in the American sense of the word, it could also be likened to a cheesecake, although there’s not a hint of mascarpone in the ingredients.
Most importantly, it takes hardly any time to make and it manages to taste both decadent and light at the same time. Passed from my grandmother to my mother and then to me, I hope it makes its way into your kitchen too.
You will need:
- 250g ginger biscuits
- 110g unsalted butter
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 x 397g tin condensed milk
- 230ml double cream
1. Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Use a food processor to crush the ginger biscuits. Alternatively, place them in a plastic food bag and give them a good old-fashioned bash with a rolling-pin. Transfer the rubble to a mixing bowl.
2. Melt the butter and stir it into the crumbs. Press this mixture into the base of a 23cm fluted flan tin with a loose base. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then set it aside to cool.
3. Place the condensed milk, double cream, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and thick.
4. Once cool, top your biscuit base with the lemon cream. Chill until ready to serve. I actually think this tastes best made a day or two in advance.
- Tell me about your favourite family recipe? Which meals do you remember most fondly from your childhood?
Love Audrey xxx