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
Crust ... where my pie's appearance starts to deteriorate. It's the hunchcrust of notre dame!
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.
Look at my creative and wondrous piping masterpiece! It's abstract. Jackson Pollock would be proud. Or confused.
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!
Flood! Would you like a straw with that?
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!
Julie Versus Lemon Meringue, Battle 2
Dough setting up.
Dough rolled into disks.
The free-form tarts and ... um ... formed tarts.
It's a mountain of meringue!
A clinical tart autopsy shows exactly what I want to see--no weepage!
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!
I really loved the pate sablee, so I made sablees (cookies) from the leftover crust!
I liked the look of the mini tarts.
But I wanted to dress it up a little.
To the nines, even!
Check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see other LMPs!!
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.