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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lemon fallout

I love lemons. I love them in my hot cup of good english tea, and I love them in my honey water when my throat is acting up. So, I would say that in general I love lemons - or so I thought.....

Our Daring Bakers Challenge this month was the Lemon Meringue Pie. I was pretty excited about it because the only other time I had made something similar as this was when I made the keylime pie and well, that didn't turn out the way I had wanted it to, so I was ready for this challenge. The only thing that made it a little less appealing was that I knew I would be the only one eating it. I knew Brandon wouldn't like the tartness of the lemons. It was funny watching him take a bite out of it thinking it would be more sweet than tart.
I must say the best part of the pie was the crust itself. I made a little adjustment with the amount of butter. I only added 1/2 C instead of the 3/4 C required in the recipe. I just like to lower my fat in everything and I didn't have any vegan butter on hand, so it only seemed fitting to reduce the amount, and honestly it came out nice and flaky all the same.
My mad crimping skills (not really) is shown above, prior to bakage.
I didn't really enjoy making the filling. I was kinda thinking it was more of a custard type filling since this is new to me, but it wasn't. It came out fine, and it didn't shrink and rip off the crust when it cooled and it set really well - or so I thought.
And the prettiest part of it all, the meringue topping, so nice and browned but I didn't really like the taste it of. It was like eating air, but crunchy air at the same time.I should have let it cool more before I cut into it but it was getting late and so I cut into it and it oozed. It was fine the next day and tasted even better than the day it was baked. I knew I was expecting tartness, but boy! was this filling eye twitching, lip smacking (not in a good way) tart!!! The next time I ate it I ended up scooping the majority of the filling and topping off and ate the crust! lol. I don't think I'll make this again and though our friend said that the tartness was typical of a lemon meringue pie but the filling was a little on the heavy side. It was a good challenge none the less, now I know what to expect. :-)

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces (I used 1/2 C)

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water
For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 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
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar
To Make 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 1/8 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 1/2 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.
To Make 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.
To Make 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...

It looks beautiful, even if you didn't like the taste!

Carrie said...

My crust was a disaster! Perhaps leaving out some of the butter would have saved it. Yours looks great! Thanks for the tip!

Lunch Buckets said...

You did a great job piping the meringue, you know, for a lemon-hater :)

creampuff said...

Sorry you didn't like it to so much, but it looks terrific!

Cynthia said...

It came out really well though Val. I'm with you, I don't mind tart but not that degree of tartness.

Anonymous said...

Sensational spiky meringue!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great pie! I love the way your meringue looks! Well, done!
It was a very challenging recipe ;-P...



Angsana said...

I think it turned out looking Great! If you do coem across another lemon meringue pie which tastes better, do pass on the recipe to me:)

Claire said...

I didn't quite know what to expect with the curd either, but I thought it was great! Your meringue peaks are great.

Emiline said...

Yay! Another successful challenge. Well, kind of. I think it looks beautiful, especially the piping.
I read a lot of stories about people that had trouble.

Dolores said...

I'm sorry the flavors didn't work better for you, but I'm glad you tried the recipe anyway. Part of the challenge is the learning the trying new things. You did great with that! :)

Cheryl said...

Your piped meringue topping came out perfect. What a pretty pie.

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

Your pie looks fantastic!!! Great job!

Christina said...

Beautiful pie, Valerie. And props to a non-shrinking crust!

I love lemons, as well. When I'm sick, I boil a cup of water and squeeze in half a lemon and add a few teaspoons of honey. I'm going to try it with ginger just because, not that I'm sick, luckily!

Dhanggit said...

i love those peaks of your meringue!! beautifully executed :-)till next challenge!!

Anonymous said...

You have a lovely blog here! This is a favorite of mine, I will have to give it a go.