Monday, 28 January 2008

The Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

When I joined the Daring Bakers, Mr A&N was quite excited on his own behalf. Guarantee baked goods, at least once a month, is something easy to see the bright side of. There was a burning question he had, though. “When will you get to make me a lemon meringue pie?” As the asking of this question implies, lemon meringue is his favorite sweet treat. “Honey,” I gently explained “of all the baked goods in this world, pies and cookies and cakes and breads, what do you think the chances are of us having to bake a lemon meringue pie?”

This month the Daring Bakers have made a lemon meringue pie.


The recipe is a Wanda Beaver recipe, as chosen by Jen at The Canadian Baker. The last time we made lemon meringue in our house was last Valentine’s Day, when Mr A&N wanted to give me a treat (by baking his favorite dessert, mind you). Instead of grabbing the vanilla to flavor the meringue with, though, he chucked in a generous spalsh of red food coloring to the egg white mixture. The resulting pink meringue was valentines- appropriate, as it turned out, but it did but us off lemon meringue for a short while.

The crust in this meringue, for starters, was addictive. It is a very simple sweet crust , is worthy of being given pride of place in your favorite pie recipe. There was more than enough pastry for a full-sized pie as well as a half-dozen mini-pies, and the left over pastry pieces were baked (and eaten) as if they were butter cookies. I had a minor pastry mishap when cutting it for the large pie dish and not allowing enough coverage for it to climb up and cling over the sides of the dish. The result was that when I blind baked it, despite weighing it down, it shrunk on me. I first thought the crust was a write-off, but then thought of transferring the still-warm crust to a slightly smaller tin and breaking off any overhang to enjoy as more butter cookies. This, surprisingly, worked well.

The mishap became more dangerous when Mr A&N, not noticing how I had turned the situation from tragedy to triumph in a few easy steps, thought that we were still writing the crust off and took too much liberty with the amount of crust he broke off and ate. With my back turned, he broke off a whole side of pie crust and was blithely nibbling it when I caught him and let him know my opinion of his actions (with words that could best be expressed with these symbols: ??!?**&$@!!!). Having already lost and regained this pastry crust once, I didn’t want to lose it again, so decided to go th
rough with making the pie and simply earmarking that side for MR A&N to eat – he should be the one to feel the consequences of his actions.


The filling and meringue were an excellent double-act: the tart, slightly acerbic lemon with just the hint of sweetness, being smoothed and coddled by the light and airy, ever-marshmallowy meringue enclosing it. It was the Burns and Allen of the pie world. Since we enjoy tart and tangy desserts in our house, we both felt that the pie would have been just as welcome a dessert without the meringue on top, but it’s hard to think of what to do with those 5 left-over egg whites other than make meringue.

The proof of this pudding was certainly in the eating – I knew it would be a hit with Mr A&N but the bigger surprise was how his father responded to it. A man who loves his food but considers dessert a useless blockade between the main course and the cheese board
asked for a polite initial slice of pie, and then followed up the next night’s dinner with a declaration that he wouldn’t have seconds of his meal so that he could have a slice of the lemon meringue. It is a palate-cleansing pleaser for those who don’t mind a bit of sharp with their sweetness and can appreciate a good crust when they bite into it.


Lemon Meringue Pie

From "Wanda's Pie in the Sky"
- makes 1 10 inch pie

For the Crust:
3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
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.

52 comments:

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Great looking pie! I love the way you spread your meringue!

Brilynn said...

Gorgeous pics, it looks like it turned out great!

Megan said...

Oh, Those little one are so cute. I love them! And the swirl on the big pie looks nice too! The best part- Father-in-law wanted more.

Niamheen said...

Ooooh - these look delicious! One of my favourite pies from my childhood. Mmmmmm.

Tartelette said...

Turned out beautiful! You did a fantastic job with swirling the meringue!

Ann said...

Just beautiful! I love the little ones, especially.

Quellia said...

Hehe that is a great story. And matches your pies so nicely!

Big Boys Oven said...

they well executed , look so amazing!

culinography said...

The true sign of a Daring Baker... rolling with the punches to make it work! Great job!

Lesley said...

I like that you did pictures of the process, I always forget that. Great pie, yum!

Emiline said...

Your pies look perfect! I think you did a great job, Daring Baker.

I love that you call your hubs, Mr. A&N.

Deborah said...

They all look wonderful!

Tempered Woman said...

Congrats on impressing the father-in-law. Those are definite keepers! We really liked the pie as well~ and your little tartelettes are very cute. Now ban your hubby from the kitchen for evermore! ;-)

I(dot)J said...

Great job. Looks great!
Iisha

Dolores said...

How wonderful that Mr. A&N's wish should be granted with this month's challenge... and that his father enjoyed it too. Thanks for the tips on salvaging a shrunken pie crust; I shall try it out the next time I make that particular error.

DaviMack said...

Beautiful pies! I think that they should be strange-colored, though, for posterity, don't you think? Just to remind you of happy times past? ;)

Good job, despite the nibbling!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

The pies look lovely! What a coincidence that we had to do lemon meringue pie, he must have been very happy! And great that your father in-law was impressed :-)

Baking Soda said...

Aarrgh! Husbands in the kitchen during challenges.. not good!
Love the way you swirled the meringue!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Men, sometimes they just don't get it!
AnneMarie I just can't figure this recipe, some had no issues with any part of it, some had issues with one, two or all three parts. But there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the issue.
I really like the tart lemon with the meringue!
Yours was a beauty of a pie!

Angela from A Spoonful of Sugar said...

What a beautiful swirl to your meringue! And a great story, too.

June said...

Your pie looks awesome. Great job!

glamah16 said...

Very nice. I would have loved to see that red meringue from last Valentines Day!

Mary said...

Your pie looks fantastic! I can totally sympathize with coming into the kitchen and having your husband be nibbling away at something half done that he shouldn't be touching!

Kevin said...

Nice looking pie and tarts.

Elle said...

That is a beautiful pie...and who's to know that part of the crust was eaten early :) Turns out that LMP is one of Sweetie's favorites, too. He was thrilled!

cerisegourmand said...

Great LMP there! Best thing is your father-in-law loved it too! =)

Princess of the kitchen said...

Looks really pretty how you smoothed out your meringue! Well done!

Peabody said...

So great that you got to make your hubby's favorite. A great job.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I love the little ones! It must have been good to turn a non dessert eater. The pink one you had for Valentines sounded good to me too but obviously put you off.

I think if I made this again I would cook the meringues apart to have with something else and like you say, just have lemon tarts.

Foodie Froggy said...

Wow, your meringue is awesome !
Your Parisian "Daring" Friend, Anne.

Jenny said...

Looks great!

I'm still waiting for someone to pick Baked Alaska for a challenge, I'm not sure why but I'm waiting to make it until someone does!

KayKat said...

Yay! That looks awesome. Superb looking meringue.

linda said...

Your pie and small pies look wonderful! The mister and his dad were extra lucky this month!

Shandy said...

Your pie and tarts are adorable and I sooo agree with you that this crust recipe is a *must* save! Excellent flavor! I also had shrinkage with my pie crust but your idea of changing to a smaller pie dish was brillaiant *and* brave. I don't think I could have done it, personally. Beautiful pie and great challenge =D
shandy@Pastry Heaven

Pixie said...

Looks fantastic! you can't really blame him for eating a piece of the crust can you? ;)

Andrea said...

Your pie meringue is so perfectly swirled! You had me laughing about Mr. A&N nibbling on the crust because I have one of those too, though he's learning to keep his hands off the DB challenges while I'm working! :-)

Cinnamonda said...

Oh my! Too many meringues in the blogosphere just now!:) Your pie looks lovely.

Candace said...

Great look pie and tartletts! Your meringue is just perfect.

creampuff said...

Those little pies are just adorable!

Lunch Buckets said...

Lovely swirly pie, nice job!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your pies look gorgeous! You did a great job here!

Cheers,

Rosa

BC said...

The pastry recipe was quite generous and I made some tarts too... but I ate the filling before I could fill the tarts too.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your pie and tarts. Simply lovely.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

breadchick said...

Great way to please both the men in the family! Perfect LMP it appears. Great job.

bittersweetblog said...

I just love how you tackled this challenge! It looks like a family with one big mother lemon meringue pie with it's baby tartlettes- so cute!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, the petite pies are just adorable. Super job!

Claire said...

You're right...palate cleansing! Beautiful pie!

Naomi Devlin said...

What a lovely write up - what is it with men and lemon meringue? You would imagine they'd be put off by the campness of that meringue, but I guess the butch lemon filling kinda evens it out?

Your pies and tarts looked lovely - nice smooth meringue.

Oh, thanks for your recommendation to turn my failed LMP into a benchmark for disaster. Unfortunately I think I have worse disasters in my repertory to refer to, so it may have to remain a symble of mediocrity instead!

x x x

Jen Yu said...

I laughed so hard when I read about Mr. A&N eating the crust! Oh, how they love to nibble :) Your pie/tarts turned out beautifully - they are wonderful! Thanks for the laugh :)

Half Baked said...

Love the mini pies! Just beautiful!

Jigginjessica said...

Your pie looks lovely! Don't you love it when people ask for a second slice!

Bron said...

oh what sweet looking pies, I love the little babies!