On the occasion of a dear friend’s birthday, I got to have a lot of fun making something less traditional. She’s a huge scholar of Viking culture and a culinary anthropologist. One of her very favorite desserts is lemon meringue pie, so I wanted to make it a little more complex and do something clever with the style.
I went with a sablé crust for the hull, sail and shields.
To make things only slightly more complex, the bottom layer is an Italian ricotta pie with the lemon curd and meringue on top of that.
The ricotta pie was a serendipitous choice. Because it takes a bit longer than a lemon tart to bake, I was able to bake it up to the point where it was set, and then layer on the lemon curd and continue baking until both were done. The made construction much more seamless (literally, really).
Using the super stiff Italian meringue (which I’ve really come to love) I was able to pipe it so that it looked like a little army was riding in the ship, with their spikey, little helmets.
Sablé details like the figurehead, shields and mast/sail were attached with royal icing, which blended well with the meringue to look pretty visually consistent.
Since meringue is to be toasted, and since it was a Viking ship, the obvious choice was to flambé it. Why blow out candles when you can blow out your cake?