Garden Fairy Lori Stern
I find myself asking the question "HOW DOES SHE DO IT?!", each and every time Lori Stern is mentioned, standing constantly in awe of all that she is and all that she manages to create. She is truly a one-woman show – a chef, baker, business owner, creative, artist, tennis player, dear friend, the list goes on…
We love to feature women in our Journal who inspire us in one way or another and Lori shines in every single aspect. Though we admire her for a million reasons, what stands out most in Lori is her vivacious, infectious love for life. Even when she is drowning in orders (the number of cookies she bakes a week is unimaginable), she somehow manages to take the time to smell the roses. Being with her for an afternoon is like hitting a reset button on your life. She has a way of putting everything into perspective, and of opening your eyes to the small things that make every day so beautiful.
Growing up in Ojai, CA, Lori has been steeped in the beauty of the natural world since childhood. Her early path led her to college on a Division I tennis scholarship, followed by a spell in New York City and eventually to the sweetest back house on the most insanely beautiful property in Montecito, CA (think Great Gatsby…) where she now spends her days baking and cooking, surrounded by the very landscape that inspires her artistic and unique approach to her work. Her work ethic is that of a true dedicated athlete - she challenges herself daily and rises to the occasion on large orders, multiple events a week, the list goes on.
Through her cooking and baking, her creative eye shines bright. From finding the most sparkly sugar to sprinkle on her pressed flower cookies (for which she is best known), to discovering the amazing purple rice that turns pink when a lemon is squeezed on top, or hand drawing each and every one of her portrait cookies, it is Lori’s detailed care about the small things make everything she touches so perfectly special. .
For KK's baby shower, welcoming Prairie into our lives, Lori worked her magic and made a beautiful rendition of KK's favorite - Key Lime Pie - a recipe which she has graciously shared below. We are so fortunate to have Lori as part of our community, and it has been an honor to watch her grow as a business owner and baking boss. We are all beyond excited for her future, and are especially looking forward to her first cookbook, which is in the works now! We hope you enjoy photos from our magical afternoon in Montecito, filled with cookie scraps and flower collecting, and we urge you all to try making this perfect Key Lime Pie this summer (trust us, you’ll fall in love).
LORI'S CITRINE PIE (YIELDS ENOUGH FOR 1 10" TART)
YIELD: ENOUGH FOR 1 10" TART
14.4 oz graham cracker crumbs (process in food processor)
2.5 tablespoons brown sugar1 teaspoon kosher salt
110 g melted butter or coconut oil, or both
1 cup homemade sweetened condesnsed milk (OR 1 can organic sweetened condensed milk)
2 eggs, room temp
¼ cup citrus juice (blood orange, grapefruit, etc.)¼ cup lime or lemon juice 1 tbsp citrus zest / sliced kumqua
First melt butter or coconut oil or both, set aside to cool. Process your graham crackers into fine crumbs. Mix with brown sugar, salt, and then pour your melted butter/coconut oil mixture. Pat this into a 10" pan (or 9" glass pyrex will work as well) and then put in freezer for 20 min. Preheat oven to 350, then bake tart for 10-12 mins. Take out of oven and let cool completely.
In the meantime, make the custard–whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, citrus juice, lime/lemon juice, and zest/sliced kumquat.
Pour this tart mixture into your cooled off graham cracker crust, at this point you can sprinkle the custard with herbs, flower petals, kumquat slices, etc. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the middle of the tart looks set but still wiggles a bit (think jello consistency). Take out of oven and let cool til room temp, then place in fridge for 3 hrs to overnight. Slice and serve alone or with whipped cream.
– Lori Stern