Daring Bakers, January: Lemon Meringue Pie (LMP)


It's Daring Bakers (DB) time! Every month, the DB host issues a challenge recipe to all the DBers, who must follow the recipe as written, with any allowances determined by the host. At the end of the month, the DBers post their results of the secret recipe on their blogs! This month's recipe was hosted by Jen at Canadian Baker, and the challenge was Lemon Meringue Pie! Up until this recipe, I'd never met a lemon meringue pie that I liked. Usually, they were just too sweet or too tart and just didn't taste ... right. But you've never had a lemon meringue pie until you've had a freshly baked lemon meringue pie! I used Meyer lemons, and they were awesome in this recipe! Not too acidic, but lemony and aromatic! I liked every aspect of this pie. I botched my first attempt, but liked the taste enough to give it another go, and I'm glad I did!

Julie Versus Lemon Meringue, Battle 1

lemon meringue pie

Crust ... where my pie's appearance starts to deteriorate. It's the hunchcrust of notre dame!
lemon meringue pie

Filled ... I had some trouble transferring my pie crust into my pie plate, so it stretched a bit. Luckily, it didn't shrink after I baked it; stretching your crust often causes it to shrink back during baking. I let the pie cool with saran wrap pressed to the top to prevent a film from forming.
lemon meringue pie

Look at my creative and wondrous piping masterpiece! It's abstract. Jackson Pollock would be proud. Or confused.
lemon meringue pie

Yeah, I didn't like that meringuey mess, either, so I just peaked it out and browned it in the oven. Many of my fellow DBers had trouble with runny filling, so I thought I'd try to avoid that by pulling my pie from the oven as soon as the meringue was brown. It turns out the problem is likely caused by underbaked meringue!
lemon meringue pie

Flood! Would you like a straw with that?
lemon meringue pie

It's a meringue slide! Shucks, the first slice never comes out quite right, and I even did the "cut two slices" method to try to keep things tidy. Still, once the "wet stuff" drained out, it wasn't too bad. And it tasted so good!
lemon meringue pie

Julie Versus Lemon Meringue, Battle 2

Dough setting up.
lemon meringue pie

Dough rolled into disks.
lemon meringue pie

The free-form tarts and ... um ... formed tarts.
lemon meringue pie

It's a mountain of meringue!
lemon meringue pie

A clinical tart autopsy shows exactly what I want to see--no weepage!
lemon meringue pie

And in a real-life scenario? Yes, it all set up just fine this time! Woot! Soft, fluffy meringue, sweet-tart, melt-in-your-mouth lemon card, and crisp, buttery, tender crust. So yum!
lemon meringue pie

I really loved the pate sablee, so I made sablees (cookies) from the leftover crust!
lemon meringue pie (sablees)

I liked the look of the mini tarts.
lemon meringue pie

But I wanted to dress it up a little.
lemon meringue pie

To the nines, even!
lemon meringue pie

Check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see other LMPs!!

The particulars:
Lemon Meringue Pie
(from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver)
Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008

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
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.

Daring Bakers Extra Challenge: Free-Style Lemon Tartlets
(from "Ripe for Dessert" by David Lebovitz)

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:

To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough, position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF. Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks.

Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.


FoodieFroggy said…
Wow, how many of them did you make ? They all look great !
Dhanggit said…
love the way you wrote this post!!by the way great job on your january challenge..i must admit its not that easy :-)
Ann said…
Awesome! Love all of the variations!
Aparna said…
Loved reading your post and the dressed up mini tart/ pie at the end.
Got to hand it to you attemting it a second time. I was tired out after the first time!
Jerry said…
The second one looks great!
Susan said…
I'm glad the second time was a charm! I need to attempt this again too...
Jessica said…
I love all the photos! I was too lazy to take more than one this time. Great job!
Tablebread said…
OMG Julie!!! You definitely win this months perseverance award! You made every variation I can think of ;)
Marvin said…
very impressive julie! you must have so much patience for all that baking.
Simona said…
Your posts are always fun to read. That was a lemon meringue spree!
Gabi said…
I had to laugh at the "clinical tart autopsy" though really it's the way to learn and progress.
Good for you for not giving up!!
Sarah said…
Your pie and tarts look great...good job!
teeth whitening said…
What a gorgeous pie!! I wish mine would turn out like that.
Anonymous said…
I like the mini tarts. Great job :)
Deborah said…
I'm always impressed with people who make the challenge more than once. Great job!!
Miss Ifi said…
Glad to head someone gave it another go! Congratulations on your mini tarts!! they look GREAT!!
Tartelette said…
I love how the minis turned out and I love what you ended up making with the pate brisee! I am glad you persevered because the results are just great!
glamah16 said…
I love all your interpetations!Especially the free form. Great job as always.
Andrea said…
Great job tackling the different variations! That meringue avalanche looks oh too familiar. :-)

Your little tarts look wonderful.
wmpe said…
I too never cared for LMP before this challenge. Your write-up was fun to read and your photos were great. Lovely LMP. Wendy
Kribha said…
wow... you made so many of them? I wonder how you stick to your diet having all these food around you. Pie looks gorgeous. Loved all the variations too.
Julie said…
Kribha--I give it away! Just because they're around, it doesn't mean I have to eat them all, or even any. I was enrolled in Commercial Baking class just as I was starting my diet, and that was hard, since I allowed myself only a pinch of bread or a small bite of cookie. I was the only one who lost weight during the class. We'd always have a lot of "product" to bring home, but I'd give my share away. Now, I fill my kitchen with my own product, but I feed it to friends at parties that I or they throw, or bring it to the farmers' market for the volunteers. I fed this pie to guests at a monthly lunch party I hold specifically to feature Daring Baker projects, and the tarts went to neighbors and friends at work. =)
Lunch Buckets said…
Great job! I love the look of the little dome shaped tarts, gorgeous!
Jenny said…
Good job sticking to it. I love the dome ones - when I made freeform I was afraid and didn't put nearly enough lemon curd on. Will have to try again!
Dolores said…
I'd have requested a straw...they both look dang tasty. But your free form tarts (with their tart-dough-turned-cookie decorations) are sensational. Great job!
Claire said…
I think your meringues are beautiful!

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