June 17, 2008

Lemon Meringue Fathers Day Goodness

I would just like to start this post off by celebrating my very first ever pie from scratch!!

::booty shaking happy dance::

Okay, I'm done. I'm just very proud of this pie, I can't help it. Alex and I went to his parents for Fathers Day dinner, and his dad loves lemon meringue pie (LMP). I just couldn't resist the challenge! I made the crust on Saturday afternoon, and pre-baked it so that I could do the rest on Fathers Day AM.
In my search for the ultimate recipe, I scoured my cookbooks, Dorie included of course, and online. I ultimately decided on one from Allrecipes.com based on all the solid reviews. It was delicious! Great lemon flavor and a perfect non-weepy meringue. The only issue I had with this pie was that the filling was just a little more dense than you would expect for a LMP. Flavor was outstanding; lemony, tart and sweet, but it was a little more like a thick custard. The meringue was great and held together perfectly! I only used 3 egg whites, and I wanted it to be higher, so perhaps I'll use 4 next time. Or I'll just learn how to arrange it more artfully :-)
The dough had a great flavor (Thanks Dr.Annie!) but I trimmed it a tad too short, so it shrank during baking. Okay, overall, it wasn't the prettiest LMP I've ever seen, but it was gosh darn good! This was all that was left after dinner. Luckily, I am married to The Man Who Loves Pie, no matter how it looks.

The Crust (Dr. Annie's Cooking Blog...to be linked shortly)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp very cold water

Fit your stand mixer with a paddle attachement, and stir together flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and then flatten into a disk. This dough should be rolled out immediately, not chilled. Lightly flour your work surface, then flatten the disk with 8 or so gently rolling pin taps. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour as needed, and then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single crust.
Pre-Baking: Cover the dough with foil and fill with either metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes or so, until browned. Cool completely before filling.

The Lemon (allrecipes.com)
1 cup white sugar (might use just a tad less next time to kick up the tartness factor)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 lemons, juiced and zested (I chopped the zest afterwards, to make it more fine)
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. This will temper the egg mixture, so that you won't end up with scrambled eggs when you add them back to the sugar. Do NOT skip this step! Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell. Cover loosely with foil to keep in the heat while you make the meringue. The filling should still be hot/warm when you top it.

The Meringue: (Allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons white sugar (I used powdered sugar, which I think blends better)

In a small saucepan, combine water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch. Cook over low heat until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
In a large glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until mixture is foamy. Mix in vanilla, then gradually add the 6 tablespoons sugar, beating constantly until meringue forms soft peaks. Gradually pour in cornstarch mixture, beating until stiff. Spread over top of still-warm filling and seal to the edges of the crust. This will ensure that the meringue doesn't shrink up on you! Brown in oven if desired. I placed it under the broiler for about 1.5 minutes, which was just perfect. If you do this, don't walk away from the oven or you could end up with burnt meringue.


melly~ said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

fantastic looking pie! bravo! there really is no better gift than one made with love.

i may need to try that merengue recipe though i have no complaints with the betty crocker version. yours is lovely.

welcome to TWD. from one of the new kids.

Matthew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hey Beth

It's Matt (from NC... Val and Matt). What position was your cooking rack when browning the meringue?

Matthew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I was perusing another food blog and saw this ... since you mentioned a certain someone enjoying lemon meringue pie. Here is another take on the classic.