January 28, 2008

Pucker Up!

The Daring Bakers are at it again. Today the blogosphere will be hit with hundreds of lemon meringue pies made 'round the world. Hang on to your taste buds because this one packs some flavor.

Thanks to our host, Jen from The Canadian Baker, for challenging the Daring Bakers to complete a pastry crust, lemon curd and the pièce de résistance—meringue. I had never made a lemon meringue pie before, but had dabbled a few times with meringue itself. Not usually much of a pie person, I rather enjoyed this dessert. Not too tart, not too sweet and a little bit of whimsy make this a great idea for entertaining.

Lemon Meringue Pie
from Wanda's Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie; I made 12 mini pies

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.


Deborah said...

I love all of the different meringue decorations!

Big Boys Oven said...

this are such lovely and desirable LMPs!

breadchick said...

Love all the little shapes and meringue tops. Nice job on your challenge!!

Barbara said...

Great job on the challenge. I love the different meringue looks.

Tiffany said...

Oh how cute!!! I love the petite almost-bite-size pies!! And your meringue piped out beautifully!

Anonymous said...

ooo...lemon meringue pie art! I love it! And they all look enticing :)

Suzana said...

Oh, so nice! I love the different decorations! Great job. :)

Brian said...

thanks! yours look delicious!

Carrie said...

Your tartlets look wonderful and it looks like you really enjoyed working with the meringue. Good work!

Judy said...

I love all the variations. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Your lil' tarts are so cute! I love all the different pipings!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow! I love all the variety! Beautiful tartlets!!

Barbara said...

I love the way you did a different meringue for each tart! They look scrumptious!

Bellini Valli said...

Very pretty designs with the meringue. Your lemon meringue pie turned out beautifully!!!

Venus ~ Vi said...

Oooooo, love all that different meringue pipings! The curd looks great too!

Yenping said...

What a great idea in general for any other kind of baked goods - make many many different shapes of the same thing. Love 'em!

Gabi said...

Your tarts look great-like they should be in a patisserie window!

Lis said...

How creative! I love the lil tartlets with the different meringue designs.. so pretty. :)

I'm glad you ended up enjoying this recipe, too!


Jenny said...

These would look great at a party - I love how each one is a little different!

Elle said...

Sorry to be so late...
Your tarts are awesome. I love that you did different meringue designes. They would look wonderful in a pastry case of a fancy bakery. Lovely!!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your tarts and I love all the different meringue designs. Lovely presentation too!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Mer said...

Wow! Great job! :0)

Claire said...

Cute tartlettes! I love your decoration with the lemon slices.

Dolores said...

What pretty little pastries! Congratulations... great job with January's challenge!

Tartelette said...

I am probably very late but I am still working down my way through the alphabet. The tartlets are gorgeous! You did fantastic!