January 28, 2008

Lemon Meringue Pie

When I read that the Daring Bakers' Challenge for January was lemon meringue pie, I wasn't that thrilled. Growing up, lemon meringue pie graced my family's various holiday tables. I can remember being excited for it but then not liking it that much (meringue did not taste as good as it looked). I have tried to like it beyond the occasional pie slice because I love lemony things. Well, this recipe holds the secret to delicious LMP. I don't know if it is the slighter sweeter and cookie-like pie crust, the lemon curd loaded with zest and made in a way that there isn't a harsh acid bite, the vanilla flavored meringue or the fresh lemons I picked from my tree. All these things came together to make many magical tartlettes.

Thanks to Jen at The Canadian Baker for choosing such a great recipe and helping me find a place on the table for LMP.

The recipe was easy to follow. I never made a custard with as much cornstarch and no flour like this before, and I think that was the difference in this pie. It did get very thick. My timing was a little off - I found myself waiting for the tart shells to cook while everything was ready and waiting.

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
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 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.


Big Boys Oven said...

lovely, lovely i just love the looks of the texture!

Lis said...

Wendy! Gorgeous! I love your little tartlets! :)

I'm so happy you've found a recipe for LMP that you really like. :)


Andrea said...

Your tarts are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

That is one gorgeous pie:)

glamah16 said...

Looking good!

Mary said...

Your little tarts are beautiful! I agree this recipe makes me a LMP fan!

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

Looks fantastic! Well done, I'm glad you changed your opinion.

Baking Soda said...

Looks lovely, especially the sweet little peaks on the tartlets!

Gabi said...

Your tarts are sweet! Lovely job!

Deborah said...

I'm glad you found a lmp that you like! It turned out beautiful!

kellypea said...

I agree that this was the most cornstarch I've put into a pie, too. And it was very thick. Those swirls on the top of your cute pies are so perfect. I just get impatient and go tooooooo fast. Very, very nice job!

Miss Ifi said...

BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, that is all I have to say, I am glad you enjoyed the LMP. Congratulations on such beautiful tarts.

Carrie said...

Your little pies are so pretty! I'm glad you ended up enjoying this LMP!

Jenny said...

Adorable. The tarts are the perfect size!

Anonymous said...

I love how your tartlets came out! And if the recipe achieved one LMP convert, that´s the greatest success.

Tartelette said...

You did a gorgeous job! The minis look like flowers! I love peeking at the inside!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Lucky you Windy to have lemon growing in the back. I also thought this all went together very well to the benefit of each separate part. Beautiful Tarts!!! Love that meringue.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elle said...

Those are magical tartlettes...especially if they are using lemons from your own tree. Did you use a blowtorch for the pretty color on the meringue? Awesome LMP!

Sheltie Girl said...

Your tarts turned out beautifully. Great job!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Mer said...

I agree, your pie is lovely. And fresh lemons plucked from your own tree? Can't get any better than that!

DaviMack said...

Looks wonderful! Glad it turned out for you!

amanda. said...

I'm so jealous of all your cute little tarts! Great job!

Dolores said...

I think it's neat when one of the DB recipes results in a conversion... I had the same experience with the Bostini (wasn't fond of the full sized version). Great job with your little tarts.

Claire said...

She likes it! Yay!!!! I love you pie...looks great.