Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers January Challange - Lemon Meringue Pie

I was SUPER excited this month when I found out what the DB challenge was going to be Lemon Meringue Pie. It was perfect and at the right time of year for me because my Father-in-law's birthday was coming up and this is his all time favorite kind of pie. We always celebrate someone birthday by going out for dinner and having "cake" afterwards back at the house. Well this year I was able to supply the cake and complete this month's challenge at the same time.

I have made a LMP before and wasn't worried about the pie itself. I was worried about making the pie crust because that was something I never did before. From watching a lot of cooking shows I knew that everything must be cold...even the bowl! I was a little worried at first when my dough didn't seem to come together fast but a little time in the fridge and it came together nicely. I know why people buy already pie crust but now I understand why so many people make their own. It was really easy using the food processor and really doesn't take that much time. I would do it again and might even make a double batch to freeze half for the next time.

The only thing that I had problems with is rolling out the crust and baking it...but I would say that is mostly user error. I only had 9" pie pans and didn't have time to go look/buy a 10" pie pan. Not sure if this was the problem or if I rolled out the dough to thin or didn't leave enough over hanging (which I know I didn't). I ended up with a lot of extra dough and extra filling and meringue. So I just made a mini LMP to give away to my neighbor. I actually probably could have made 2 mini pies but didn't have time. I made the mistake of trying to make the pie during Jacob's nap time. Which was cutting it close to the time when my in-laws were coming over for dinner.

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 countertop) 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.

Review: I got comment from my father-in-law that this LMP is the way the LMP should be...tart and not super sweet like you get at the store. I liked this pie and would make it again for another birthday or any time. I need to get more practise at making my own crust but I like the taste of it and thought it was yummy!

Also I wanted to wish my son a very Happy 2nd Birthday today!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your pies look great! I love all that fluffy meringue!



Dhanggit said...

your son is sooooo adorable!!such a cutey :-) hope he will like your lemon pie!! well done mom :-)

btw, im just like you..i do my kitchen challenges when my baby girl is doing her nap..but i need to do it silently or else..heheh till next challenge

Anonymous said...

I love the picture of the two pies side by side! Great job on this month's challenge!

Tablebread said...

beautiful meringue! I like the little on :)

Lesley said...

Looks very good!
And happy birthday to that boy. My boy is 2 and I LOVE a 2 year old boy...

DK said...

The meringue is sooo fluffy! beautiful :)

Dolores said...

How wonderful that you were able to pair this month's challenge with a special birthday celebration... AND know that the birthday boy would love it! And congratulations on your first 'from scratch' pie dough. They can be finicky, and you did GREAT.

I(dot)J said...

Look great... good job.


Cakespy said...

Beautiful, nice meringue--very nice job indeed. And, your kid is the cutest!!!

breadchick said...

your pie looks great and happy birthday to your son too! Great job on the challenge

Princess of the kitchen said...

What a wonderful and high meringue! Lokks fantastic

Big Boys Oven said...

Wish your son a Happy Belated Birthday! lovely and well executed LMP!

Deborah said...

Your pie looks wonderful!!

KayKat said...

Love it, the meringue looks perfectly browned!

Lunch Buckets said...

Good job on the pie - and the kid :)

creampuff said...

Congratulations on the crust! The pie looks terrific!

Anonymous said...

Looks good! How did the inside turn out? No pictures of that...

Jen Yu said...

Very nice LMPs! I love the little one on the side too :)

Claire said...

Beautiful pies and what a joy to share with neighbors and family! Happy B-day to your son.


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