After Mother's Day, it seems only fitting that we celebrate the Queen. More so in a Diamond Jubilee year, as Queen Elizabeth II will be celebrating her 60th year on the British throne next month (the British monarchy is the exception to the typical 75-year diamond anniversary rule). You are planning an elaborate afternoon tea party to celebrate, yes? (If not, maybe try to win one at the Langham.)
If, like us, you're wondering what to make for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which begins June 2, the Detroit Free Press has an excellent suggestion: Lamprey Pie. The eel pie is traditionally baked only for the Queen's special occasions, such as her coronation in 1952 and her Silver and Gold Jubilee. Unfortunately, the Queen has a little ingredient-sourcing problem: Lamprey are a protected species in England. Good thing we have plenty of the invasive, overabundant, slippery little bloodsuckers in the Great Lakes. Get more on the diplomatic lamprey pie relations, as well as a chocolate pie recipe from one of the Queen's former chefs, after the jump.
According to the article, a handful of eels are being shipped over to England from the Great Lakes to make this year's ceremonial pie. But the quantity requested was something of a disappointment, as Michigan reportedly has a rampant lamprey problem (they attach themselves to native fish and literally suck out their guts), and was more than happy to supply the Queen with as many of the eels as she desired. Who knows, maybe Michigan will get lucky and there will be a lamprey pie revival after June 5.
We prefer to envision the Queen enjoying a few bites of this chocolate pie next month, which her former chef Darren McGrady sent our way when we asked for something special to bake up for our own little stateside Diamond Jubilee (the Queen Mary in Long Beach is celebrating with a royal exhibition of its own).
McGrady says he has made this layered chocolate pie, which he equates to a layered flan in a pie crust, for her on more than occasion -- including for the dinner shown on the 1988 menu above. He says the Queen is "a huge fan of chocolate." Lamprey? Well, we shall see.
The Queen's Chocolate Perfection pie
Adapted from Darren McGrady, author of the cookbook Eating Royally, which benefits charities Princess Diana supported in her lifetime.
Makes: 8 servings
For the pastry:
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup vanilla sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream
For the filling:
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar
½ tsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
6 ounces Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate (1 ½ bars)
½ cup water
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp cinnamon
2 ounces Ghirardelli white chocolate, grated (1/2 bar)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the pastry case/shell: In a large bowl add the flour and sugar and rub in the butter to resemble fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and cream and form the paste into a ball.
2. Roll out the paste (crust) and line a 9-inch flan ring, then bake the crust until lightly golden.
3. Prepare the filling: Place a mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water (like preparing hollandaise) and add 2 eggs, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp vinegar and the salt.
4. Whisk until the mixture starts to foam and then transfer the bowl to a cool surface. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage. Pour the filling into the shell and return to the oven until the filling has risen and is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack (the filling will "sink" back into the shell. This is the first layer of the flan.
5. Melt the 6 ounces of chocolate and add the water and egg yolks. Whisk until combined. Spoon half of the chocolate mix over the top of the pie filling and return the flan to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the flan to cool completely. This is the second layer of the flan.
6. Beat the cream and cinnamon until stiff and carefully spread half of the mix into the flan. This is the third layer.
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7. Fold the remaining cream and cinnamon mix into the remaining chocolate mix and spread into the flan. This is the fourth layer. Sprinkle on the grated white chocolate and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour, before serving.
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