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Desserts

Rose Petal Pie

March/April 2011

Denise Withnell recently released her first solo CD, a fine collection of swing and jazz tunes. The title song, Rose Petal Pie, written by David Wilkie, was inspired by an overheard conversation. “We were in New Orleans the day after Valentine’s,” Wilkie recalls. “Two young women were talking about gifts they’d received the previous day. One said her boyfriend gave her a rose petal pie. I was so intrigued by the image of big red roses in a flaky pie crust that I wrote a song about it.”

Two verses from Rose Petal Pie:

(Copyright David Wilkie, used with permission)

Early next morning to my delight

He brought me something he’d
been baking all night

A sweet taste of heaven,
a feast for the eye

My baby, and a rose petal pie.

Most girls get chocolates or
perfume from France

Champagne and diamonds or
dinner and dance

But I got something
no money can buy

My baby and rose petal pie.

It turns out that rose petal pie is a strawberry-custard confection that includes rose water. “I haven’t made it yet,” Withnell says, “but I sure like the song.” Here’s a recipe we found online:

1 package frozen, sliced strawberries

5-1/2 T. cornstarch (divided)

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 t. salt

3 c. milk

3 egg yolks

1-1/2 T. butter

1/2 t. rose water

9-inch graham cracker pie crust, baked

whipped cream

Allow the strawberries to thaw completely. Reserve a few slices for garnish. In a medium saucepan, combine the berries with their juice and 1 T. of cornstarch. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and let stand.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the remaining cornstarch with the sugar and salt. Gradually add the milk to the sugar mixture and stir until it’s very smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and bring it to a slow boil over low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and quickly but carefully stir in the egg yolks, mixing them in well.

Return the custard to the heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the butter and rose water. Let it cool 10 minutes. To assemble the pie, spoon alternate layers of custard and strawberries into the pie crust and swirl slightly with a knife, taking care not to stir up the crust. Use the reserved strawberry slices to make flower shapes on the top. Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours, then serve with whipped cream. Serves 6.