28 January 2008

Daring Baker Challenge #2 - Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
When I saw this months challenge for the Daring Bakers it was with mixed feelings. Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my all time favourite desserts...but making pie crust is always a source of great frustration for me. Being the Daring Baker that I am it gave me the opportunity to rise to the challenge...I may have been shaking in my new boots. Bring on the pie crust!!!


The Daring Bakers is the brainchild of our co-founders Lis at La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice . The group has over 400 members who are given a challenge each month and then we all blog about it on the same day. You are inundated with Lemon Meringue Pie recipes today from all over the world!! Really cool!!

A lemon meringue pie is in 3 parts.

1) The crust:

I used the food processor to make the pastry. These hands should never touch pastry.... that is written in stone..... perhaps on a stone tablet. I think it is even the 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not touch pastry". The recipe for the crust called for everything to be as cold as possible. Despite my best efforts the pastry turned out crumbly for me, but, as a saving grace I was able to roll it out and patch it together as best as possible to try and create a nice finished edge.

2) Lemon Curd Filling:

I have made lemon curd before so this was not a problem for me.

3) Meringue:

I have never made a meringue. When I haven't done something before I head to the experts at the Daring Bakers and get the benefit of their experience and advice! People were talking about their meringue weeping, so, I decided to take one person's advice and add some cornstarch. To do this she had incorporated a food styling trick; adding a cornstarch mixture to the egg whites to stabilize the meringue. She stated, "It prevents the egg proteins from overcooking which causes shrinkage, beading or weeping in the meringue. Food stylists use this technique and have used it during photo shoots to produce beautiful pies." My meringue turned out beautifully so thank you Daring Baker!!

My biggest mistake in this month's Daring bakers Challenge was to make the pie on a Sunday. In doing this I couldn't take it to my Lemon Meringue Loving friends... so... I ended up eating it myself.


**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 teaspoon (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 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon zest
1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon (1.2 mL) salt
½ teaspoon (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.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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54 comments:

  1. Val, your Lemon Meringue Pie is a fine entry among the slew of pies out there, job well done. I don't think any will be left to get soggy.

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  2. What a perfect looking dessert, great job Valli!:))

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  3. Cornstarch in the meringue? Wise idea. I had never made meringue before, nor curd! Your pie looks great! All to yourself, eh?

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  4. Well done. I had to stop myself from nibbling my tarts as I faced your same dielema.

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  5. Val, you Lemon Meringue Pie looks exquisite. I was just telling the Leftover Queen how I was craving for something lemony last week and ended making a lemon roulade. I didn't know about the cornstarch as a stabilizer but you can use cream of tartar
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_of_tartar

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  6. Val, you ate the whole thing by yourself! WoW!! You didn't say but I guess you must have liked it;))
    Your pie looks great!

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  7. Well...I didn't actually eat the entire thing...I ended up throwing the rest away :)

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  8. The meringue recipe I usually use uses cornstarch, and I am a believer. Although I followed this recipe and didn't have any problems with weeping. Your pie is gorgeous!!

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  9. It looks great Valli! I know what you mean with regard to hands touching pastry - especially when they are MINE. So I was happy about the food processor! :)

    Use my contact me page to talk about our little exchange! :)

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  10. It looks gorgeous! (And yes, you can join the club.)

    :-)

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  11. Nice job. I think DB's challenges require a party to feast on the outcome.

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  12. Your LMP looks great! The meringue is very shiny great job!

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  13. Aaaaaaaah! That's why my pie was weeping! It all makes sense now... I'll have to give it another try :-)

    Yours looks lovely by the way!

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  14. If we were neighbors I would have eaten the pie with you.

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  15. Cornstarch in the meringue, maybe I should have tried that!! Congratulations on #2 Val, great job!!

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  16. You daring bakers are killing me today! Lemon meringue is an all time favorite. I like it because it is tart and sweet! Nice job Valli!
    Glad to see you are feeling better!

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  17. Great job~ I totally waited until the last minute and made them on a Sunday too but no one seems to mind cause the leftovers I brought into the ofice are all gone! Congrats on confronting the crust ;-)

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  18. Looks wonderful!! I am loving checking everyones fantastic pies!!

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  19. well done you... and next time you screw up your timing, just invite me over, i'll gladly have a slice (or two)!!!

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  20. You did a lovely job on your lemon meringue pie. Obviously you work beautifully under pressure!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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  21. Another beautiful pie. This challenge was a lot of fun for what I've been reading on the blogosphere :D Next month I shall conquer my second challenge.

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  22. Nice job with the meringue :) Mine was definitely "weepy", hehe.

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  23. This is perfect Valli and I just wish I could have tried a slice! My favourite dessert - yum!!

    Rosie x

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  24. wonderful Valli! A beautiful pie. My family polished off the pie while it was still warm - they couldn't wait! So I didn't have any problems about weeping meringues. ;-)

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  25. Glad you got to make a favourite recipe!
    I'm always so excited to hear what the new challenge will be.

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  26. Lovely pie Vallii!! Gloria

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  27. Your lemon meringue pie looks really good. I have had problems with pie crusts as well. I am slowly getting better with them.

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  28. What a beautiful pie! I am so glad that everything turned as good as it did!

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  29. You had to eat the pie yourself....torture I am sure. :)
    Job well done.

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  30. Ah, eating all for yourself, isn't really such a bad thing ;). Well done, looks great!

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  31. Another pie that looks good. I am happy to see so many happy endings despite the many problems one heard of with this challenge.

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  32. Hey Val! I was waiting for your post!! Your pie looks just fantastic! I too wanted to add some cornflour to my meringue but I forgot as the new Kenwood beat it up to such a great stiffness! Now arent you glad you had the pie all to yourself??!!! :)

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  33. Looks fantastic. I love seeing the DB entries and everybody's take on it. I could definitely go for a piece--that looks delicious!

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  34. Your pie is really nice and tasty looking! I bet it wasn't too much of a sacrifice to have to eat it all yourself!

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  35. That looks perfect. And you added cornstarch to the meringue - never tried that!

    Yay! :)

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  36. yum! congratulations!

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  37. The meringe resembles the swirls of a wave...looks lovely

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  38. Looks good Val! :) I didn't look up any tricks to make things go smoother, but now I wish I had! I'll just have to make this pie again with all of these new tips.

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  39. Your pie looks great! Nicely done.

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  40. "My biggest mistake in this month's Daring bakers Challenge was to make the pie on a Sunday. In doing this I couldn't take it to my Lemon Meringue Loving friends... so... I ended up eating it myself."
    This hardly seems like a mistake!!!

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  41. Looking good Bellini Valli!

    That was a great tip about adding cornstarch to meringue. Of course I forgot it when I was making mine!

    You threw some pie away?!

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  42. Great job with the January challenge. When I get around to making mine (probably this evening), I'll keep the cornstarch tip in mind. Thanks for sharing.

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  43. Great job Val. Pie doesn't count. That's my new rule. next week I am making it ice cream :)

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  44. I've seen so many meringue Pies... all Daring Bakers participants are posting theirs. I really admire you! Yours looks soooo good, Val, it must be a hard job... the I guess is worth the prize!!! Yummmy

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  45. Mistake? Or a carefully executed plan? Hmmmm... :) Lovely pie!

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  46. Your pie is really lovely in appearance. Now about the never touching the pie crust, that's okay but I have a suggestion. When I make pie crust in the food processor I mix it just to a nice cornmeal looking crumbly mixture, and then I dump it out into a large mixing bowl, removing the blade and then I smush it together with my hands just until the mixture is one big mass. Now at this point what you could do is put plastic wrap between you and the crust. All that needs to happen is that it all sticks together. But the tricky part is next, you do need to have two smaller masses if making a two crust pie. So take the dough one crusts worth at a time, using the plastic wrap, and form a nice tidy disc all wrapped up in the plastic wrap, then place the disc in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

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  47. I didn't know about the cornstarch trick, so thanks for sharing that. I don't keep up on the actual DB blog very well....

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  48. A food stylist would love your pie...the meringue is perfect. Imagine having to eat it all yourself :) Not a bad idea when the pie is a good one.

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  49. Valli, great pie...WOW! Well done...I'd never made a sweet pie before,leave alone a meringue. All in all, it was a beautiful experience, albeit a little weepy!

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  50. How'd I miss that tip about the cornstarch? I'll definitely remember that next time. :)

    Your pie is GORGEOUS! And hmm.. can't say as I feel sorry for your lemon dessert loving friends - after all you got to enjoy it all by yourself. heee!

    Beautiful post! Ohhh and happy Blog Birthday!

    Hugs Val,
    xoxo

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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