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Monday, January 28, 2008

Have lemons? Make Pie!

Last month, I was so pleased with the results of the Yule Log that I wanted to play with marzipan for the rest of the month. To all the amazing Daring Bakers, I owed the success of my butter cream icing. Without the benefit of your experience, success would have blown me a wet raspberry.

This month our lovely hostess Jen at Canadian Baker chose a fantastic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002. The full recipes for the pie and tarts are posted on Canadian Baker.

I was so determined to make this work since nothing works better than experience… and I desperately wanted to give back to the group. So in that spirit, here are my mistakes lovingly offered to all the Daring Baker’s.

I stuck to the recipe faithfully but I forgot the little instruction to leave a ½ inch overhang for the pie shell. When I looked into the oven, to my horror the crust was creeping down the sides of the pie pan. But, an artistic rustic crust is so much more appealing than mass produced clones, don't ya' think?
My pie looked so gorgeous that I rushed it outside to photograph in the snow. Hot meringue does not like cold snow. It wrinkled… and when I brought it inside - it wept in frustration.

For the first time both my daughter and I enjoyed the pastry, something we usually discretely push to the side, over the lip and into the garbage can. The filling set beautifully and had a tarty, fresh lemon taste. The meringue was fantastic. It was my fault that the meringue wept because of being slightly undercooked and put in the snow.

What did I learn?
1) Do not put pie in snow; it wrinkles. Do not refrigerate. If your pie is going to have a weepy taciturn attitude, this just aggravates it even more.
2) Cook meringue for full 20 minutes..
3) If you have decided to put meringue on hot filling. Pipe it around the edges first so that the filling does not overflow the edges.
This recipe is a definite keeper.

Lemon Meringue Pie
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
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

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 counter top) 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 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal 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.

Pie recipe courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002
Tartlet recipe courtesy of Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz, 2003


Shawnda said...

I turned out great! Congrats on a successful and tasty challenge!

Quellia said...

Haha in the snow? Really? I'd doubt you but I can see the snow in the picture!
PS Heading off to email you, so check for it later today!

Butta Buns said...

Hmmm, I wonder if Maybelline will start a new line of Lemon Meringue Pie In The Snow colored lipstick this year.....

I'm jealous of your pie edge crimping ability. Mine always come out severely mangled. It looks beautiful!

Deborah said...

I always have issues with the crust shrinking. And I would have never known that taking the meringue out in the cold would cause weeping! Your pie does look wonderful, though!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I think your crust looks golden and delicious! and the rest of the pie as well! Great job!

Nikki57 said...

Haha I love that you brought it out in the snow.

Pixie said...

I think rustic pies work best :) and lol about the snow! Should have still taken a photo of the snow, I don't get to see much of it over here!

Tempered Woman said...

"Do not put pie in snow; it wrinkles" bwahahahaah- makes for a great pic tho!
I agree on the recipe being a keeper. Congrats on your DB challenge.

Anonymous said...

I think your pie came out beautifully! Great job!

Gabi said...

Beautiful pie and great tips!
I particularly love the snow tip.
You did a great job!

P.S. Your Pear tart on the previous post is SO lovely!

DaviMack said...

Your crust is perfect! Good job with a fussy recipe!

abby said...

great looking meringue, even if it did give up you after it's trip outside!

Baking Soda said...

Turned out great! My crust did the exact same thing, I was so proud and then out of the oven it came back to haunt me...shrunken!

Lesley said...

mmmm, nice looking meringue. I could dig into that with a fork!

DK said...

The crust luks so delectable - not so much like a shrunken mass! way to go :)

Megan said...

I agree. this recipe is a keeper.

SweetDesigns said...

Great job!! Pie looks awesome!

Annemarie said...

Oh dear - good life lessons you learned at least, and you did get some fab photos of the pie when it was in the snow. :)

Carla said...

I love you put you pie in the snow! Oh and the color you got, that caramel brown, I'm so jealous. Great job.

Dolores said...

I think you're a bit rough on yourself... if I remember correctly, your yule log was among the amazing. And despite a little shrinkage, your pastry crust looks lovely. Rustic IS better.

I learn something from every post I read, and now I know that snow and softly baked egg whites don't play well together. :) Thanks for sharing that.

breadchick said...

Wow two us with pies in the snow! I didn't have the weeping/wrinkly though. Great job on your challenge!

Miss Ifi said...

I think the Meringue and I agree, snow is not always a good thing *giggles*
Your crust looks amazing, it just looks so crusty if that makes any sense... like it is crispy and at the same time it would melt in your mouth because of the butter in it..
Anyway.. congratulations! and thanks for sharing the knowledge ^_~

Princess of the kitchen said...

Looks wonderful. Well done!

Big Boys Oven said...

lovely and gorgeous... love it a lot!

linda said...

Looks wonderful! Thanks for the tips.

KayKat said...

The crust looks great, as does the meringue. My lemon curd was a bit runny, but still tasty!

So much of fun :)

Lunch Buckets said...

You don't want the crust to look -too- good, otherwise it looks like you bought it!

creampuff said...

You know the shot you took in the snow looks like you piped a swan design on your pie. Very impressive!

Anonymous said...

Great wavy meringue!

Jen Yu said...

Oooh, sweet job on the LMP! It looks terrific!

Claire said...

I love the smooth look of your meringue. Great job!

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

Turned out beautiful! I like how smooth your meringue looks!