Monday, January 28, 2008

Lemon Meringue Pie

Once again, it is time for the monthly Daring Baker's Challenge!!! This month's selection was Lemon Meringue Pie. I was very excited, since my friend Lorena had just made an LMP, and it sounded delicious. Mike was thrilled too, since he had been hoping for a lighter dessert after all the heavy holiday treats.

Things went pretty well, although once I got my pie crust dough made, I realized I didn't have a pie pan! So, I used a round casserole dish instead. It worked okay, but the sides were too tall, and the pretty fluted edges I had made ended up melting down in wrinkly lumps in the pan. So, it ended up being an ugly crust, but it sure tasted good.

My lemon filling came out problems at all. My meringue worked perfectly as well, but even though I attached the edges to the crust, it pulled away, and the pie started getting really weepy. I got worried and started texting Lorena and my other DB friends to see if they had had similar problems. They told me that as long as I chilled it right away, it would most likely be okay. My only problem was that I was taking the pie to a football party in an hour, so I didn't have much chilling time. I kept it in the fridge for a while at the party, and it ended up setting up in time for everyone to eat it. It was sort of an ugly pie once you cut into it, but it tasted okay! I think I've decided I'm really not a fan of meringue, however, so I'll probably opt not to use it on pies other than for challenges!

Lemon Meringue Pie
(Source: "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver)
Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008
Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)

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.


Lorena Sims said...

Thanks for posting the recipe. From what I've read on other DB blogs, the reason this one turns out really "weepy" is that the pie filling is supposed to be piping-hot when you apply the meringue. That way you cook the underside of the meringue as well as the top.

(A little tip I picked up on the "Good Eats" meringue episode!)

Alanna said...

Ah, that would make sense. :( I wish I would have known! Oh well! It still tasted good. :)

Nikki57 said...

Well it looks pretty on the outside. That counts for a lot, right?

Alanna said...

That's what I think!!! :)

CB said...

Great job A! Your filling looks so much better than mine. Damn runny filling. I might have to attempt this one again someday. The crust and meringue were my favorite parts!

Ann said...

Great looking LMP!

Ann at Redacted Recipes

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Great job! I'm sure they enjoyed the pie at the football party!

Janet said...

Try an Italian meringue and torch it, and the weeping won't be an issue either.

michelle said...

It seems a lot of us had some issues with this one. Oh well... on to February's challenge!

Deborah said...

It does look pretty, at least!!

breadchick said...

Look at that Meringue!! Great job on your challenge.

I(dot)J said...

Looking great... good job.


Beth G. said...

Looks great!! Congrats :O)

Kim Stone said...

Lovely mound of meringue. I'm sure the football folks enjoyed it heartily.

eatme_delicious said...

Mmm looks good. Yea I find lemon meringue pie difficult to cut in a nice way because the meringue sticks to the knife and the curd will goo all over if it's not chilled enough!

Dolores said...

Beautiful pie Alanna. I'm with you... I enjoyed the light lemon after heavy holiday sweets... plus the sunshiny yellow hints at warmer weather to come.

Princess of the kitchen said...

Great LMP. Well done!

Alanna said...

Thanks for all your comments, everyone! :) Can't wait for February!

Molly Loves Paris said...

It looks like a good pie from where I sit. My son-in-law doesn't like meringue either, so I'm thinking of making a lemon pie with whipped cream. All you need now is a pie plate. Bien fait.

Lunch Buckets said...

It looked so pretty - at least before it got cut! Pie plates are over-rated anyway :)

Alanna said...

That's what I've been saying! :)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I am here to say great job on your DB challenge AND Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Alanna said...

Aw, thanks! :) I'm glad to be part of the crew.

Quellia said...

I know lots of people have said the meringue should go on a hot filling, but I made the pie 3 times, not once on a hot filling, and not once did I end up with weeping, so who knows? Your pie looks great and it sounds like it was enjoyed.

Claire said...

Well, even though your crust didn't look good, I KNOW it tasted great! Good job. I cooked my meringue on cold filling but it didn't weep...hmmm.?

creampuff said...

Nice job!