Daring Baker Challenge - Lemon Meringue Pie
And when I thought about it, I realized that I've never made a Lemon Meringue Pie before. Althgouth I've eaten my fair share.
I made the pie last weekend and nearly had a pie curst malfunction. Thankfully I had extra crust as I was planning to make tartlets as well. The mishap took place when I put foil on the crust before baking it. I didn't have any dried beans to put on the foil (this helps keep the crust from getting puffy and keeps it flat when you bake it) so I put a small saucepan on top of the foil. I guess it was too heavy because the crust stuck to the foil when I took it out of the oven. There was no salvaging it.
So, grumbling under my breath, I scrapped the remaining crust from the pie pan and started over. This time I didn't use anything, instead I poked holes all over the crust and checked it halfway through, pushing down any bubbles that formed. And it worked.
The lemon filling was a breeze to make and it came together just like the recipe said it would. As for taste, it was bright, sunny and delicious. Sophie was pestering me for a sample but I told her it would be too tart for her little doggie tastebuds. She didn't care so I gave her a lick. Those little jowls of hers curled up like I've never seen before, ha!
Using my kitchen aid mixer for the meringue was so easy! I chilled the beater and the bowl beforehand which I've been told helps and it did. Those egg whites just whipped right up in no time flat.
So now that I had all the parts ready it was time to assemble the pie. Th filling was still slightly warm which was a handy piece of advice I picked up from fellow daring bakers. It would help the meringue stick to the pie filling. Once it was smoothed out, I piled on the meringue. Then I used a small offset spatula to make these little fish hook like curls all over the top.
I then popped the pie into the oven to let the meringue get nice and golden brown.
Later on the that night we had some for dessert. I was surprised when I saw how much liquid was in side when we sliced it. My best guess is that it came from the meringue. But as you can see from this slice, it sorta fell apart at the center. Mind you, it still didn't stop us from diving into it. And as for the taste? Let's just say we were hooked.Lemon Meringue Pie - Makes one 10-inch pie
For the Crust:
¾ cup cold butter; cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup ice water
For the Filling:
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup butter
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup 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 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.