Wednesday, 30 January 2008

My, my Lemon Meringue Pie!

I love lemon meringue pie so when I discovered that's what we had to bake for the Daring Bakers challenge this month I was delighted. I thought I could make a few all the name of experimentation and getting nice photos and I thought I could eat them all. Then I remembered I have to lose 4 stone before my brother gets married in June. Bugger.

Fortunately really bad tooth pain kicked in. I am talking nearly passing out painful, whimpering quietly to myself kind of pain. Now I realise this does not sound great but it did / does mean I am on a solid diet of mush and soup whilst my recent root canal settles and the horrid abscess goes away. This diet of mush means I can still lose weight and eat the middle bit of the pie!! Always a sliver lining.

Anyway I invited my Mummy and Daddy round for Sunday lunch in order to make my pie. I cooked lovely chicken for them with all the bits - bread sauce, roast potatoes and real gravy - and I had mushed veg and more bread sauce than is decent. Then we had pie, yummy, yummy pie.

I had no problems with my lovely, buttery, sweet pastry although I did cheat slightly and used 1 cup flour one cup ground almonds as lemon and almond are my all time favs. I made one big pie and some small ones in a muffin tin, I baked them all blind and had no problems with pastry slippage (I did pop them in the freezer before cooking). The filling was fab thick and yellow until I added the lemon then it was thinner and yellow. (Tasty and thin just what I want to be!) Still undeterred I filled my pies and hoped it would thicken on cooling.

Well it did thicken in the mini ones but sadly not in the big one although I didn't leave it all that long so it didn't have much of a chance. However thick or not it was really tasty, I had never added vanilla before but it really added something and I would suggest you try it. My Daddy thought it was great and even had seconds (unheard of) and we all sat picking at it for quite some time until it was gone!

That was some good pie and I still managed to lose 3 pounds so a diet pie as well....

Lemon Meringue Pie
From Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002
(Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie)
For the Crust:
¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar - I used caster sugar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water
For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar
For the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inches (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.
For the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.
For the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.


Deborah said...

That's my kind of diet!! It looks wonderful, and how it tasted was the most important thing!

Jenny said...

Ah, too bad about the lemon part! The meringue makes me think of marshmallows on sweet potatoes for some reason - only in a good way!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Great pie Sparky...mine didn't set too great either & could never get to my dream slice. fab pictures...onto the next one now!!

kellypea said...

Sorry to hear about your teeth. Sounds excruciating! My least favorite kind of pain. Well, can there actually be a favorite? Nevermind. The pie is so cute! It reminds me of a pan of rolls just out of the oven. I can see the filling ran a bit like others mentioned. It was tasty, though! And, uh, losing three pounds in spite of the pie! Sheesh!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your pie and tarts. I love your meringue design!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Mer said...

I love the meringue spikes. :0)

Dolores said...

I'm with Deborah...except for the dental pain, this is my kind of diet. And a pie that brought your dad back for seconds is a treasure indeed. Congratulations... great job with January's challenge!

Claire said...

You did a great job! Hope the tooth has gotten better. My dad went back for seconds as well. :-)