I always have certain expectations about Easter. I believe Easter is the ultimate spring holiday, and so I want Easter to embody the season. I want flowers blooming and the sun shining, and balmy air.
There is just a slight problem. Spring doesn't exist in New York. Sure it exsits on the calendar, but all of the things we associate with spring - sunshine, balmy weather, trees and flowers blooming - are few and far between. In general, a NY spring consists of lots of rain and lots of cloudy, chilly days. Sure we do get a few days where the temps hit the 60s and 70s and the sun shines, but they tend to tucked in between those damp cold days. Occasionally we get hiccups of ridiculously hot days as well. Then it all turns to summer overnight and it's hot and humid for the next two months.
I have three particular memories of Easter weather.
The first is just a vague one from when I was 5 or 6. The temperatures soared to 80 degrees that Easter. I can remember walking out onto my grandmother's back porch in a light summer dress, enjoying the warmth. I feel like that set the standard for what Easter should feel like to me.
Then there was the Easter when I was 11. My mother took my brother and me to the Poconos with some of her friends. It had snowed really badly that week. At the time the resort had horses, but there was no riding that weekend! I remember slogging through the wet, muddy snow to go pet them in their paddock. At least there was an indoor pool and a nearby store that sold handmade chocolate for Easter.
Then there was the first Easter I ever hosted a few years ago. It was a perfect spring day. Unfortunately I spent most of it in the kitchen. After everything was eaten and the cleanup done, everyone had left. Even Kevin left to drive his mother back to Queens. I went for a walk around the harbor. It was a beautiful day, but it was so lonely! I wished my family had stuck around after dinner to enjoy the beautiful day with me and we could have all played frisbee in the park or something.
What did we get for this year? It seems we got the perfect day. The sun shone and the temps were balmy. Mom scheduled an evening dinner at her place rather than a brunch or midday dinner because my brother had taken his kids to Florida for spring break and would not be returning until Easter evening. I got my pie baking out of the way the day before, so I had a whole day to get out and enjoy the day with my favorite guy and my favorite girls.
Once we got to Mom's place in the early evening, the kids were all enjoying a beautiful spring day as well.
Of course once we were ready for Easter dinner, I was ready with my PIES.
The world is always more beautiful when there is pie to be had.
Here they are completed and ready to be eaten: Oreo-Peanut-Butter Chiffon Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Italian Easter Pie.
They all came out delicious. Whatever worries I had about overprocessing the pie dough on the coconut pie were unfounded. The crust was delicious - tender and buttery (even if it wasn't the prettiest pie crust ever). All three pies were a big hit.
What other foods did we enjoy? (Courtesy of Mom)
We had ham, goat-cheese and vegetable strata, vegetables roasted with pesto, broccoli rabe, Easter bread, and cheese bread.
Now for the PB Pie Recipe
Peanut-Butter Oreo Pie
15 Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookie), processed into crumbs
4 Tbl butter, melted
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
10 Oreos, chopped into pieces
Whole Oreos for garnish
Place cookie bits in the freezer. They'll stay firmer and easier to work with that way.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crumbs and butter together and gently press into 9" pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes, or until firm.
In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over water and set aside to soften.
Whis the egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, peanut butter and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just reaches a simmer and thickens a bit. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate about an hour until cooled and it mounds when you drop it from a spoon.
Whip the cream until stiff. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the whites and the cream into the peanut butter gelatin mixture until blended. Gently fold in the cookie pieces.
Place in the pie crust and chill several more hours. Garnish with whole cookies if desired (or whipped cream or BOTH).