Monday, 28 January 2008

Another year, another Daring Bakers' challenge


Due to travels during the holiday season, I had to skip the December DB challenge but I just couldn't let 2008 start without participating in the first challenge of the year. This time, our challenge was Lemon Meringue Pie - something I've never made before. Sure I've made tarte au citron, but I've never made this kind that is topped with a fluffy layer of meringue.

There are 3 main components to this pie - the crust, the lemon filling and the meringue topping. While not hard to make, getting all 3 parts ready in order to assemble the pie requires some pre-planning. Truth be told, I started my pie a little late in the evening so I was scrambling a little bit in order to get in on the table in time for dessert after dinner.

Still, I think the pie made quite an impression on the dinner table and was a hit with M. I thought the pie tasted good but my personal preference would be to have it without the meringue on top. I think the pie is plenty sweet enough without it! To see how the other Daring Bakers got on with this month's challenge, check out the DB blogroll.

Lemon Meringue 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.

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

32 comments:

michelle said...

Looks lovely! Great job!

Madam Chow said...

A lovely pie - I like the swirl pattern on the meringue and the baking dish. I, too, thought it would have been great without the meringue, but guess what my husband liked best? The meringue, of course!

April said...

It looks great!

Jerry said...

Great job! Looks yummy!

Jenny said...

Beautiful Pie! I like how you piped the meringue. This was just my second challenge, I'm really enjoying this!

DaviMack said...

Truly beautiful piping of that meringue! If you make it again, you could pipe on a nice, thick whipped cream - which is what we'll be doing, thanks. ;)

I(dot)J said...

Great piping job. That looks great!
Iisha

Tarah said...

Your pie came out beautiful!

Deborah said...

Great job on your first lemon meringue pie!!

kellypea said...

Nice job! All things considered, I'd probably prefer just the curd in my pie, too. Okay, so maybe with a bit of cream. Absolutely no calories there, right?

DK said...

Wow! The swirl design for the meringue luks amazing!

Angela said...

The piping swirl is a cute touch! Well done!

Kim Stone said...

Oooohhh! Swirly! Nice job on the pie.

glamah16 said...

That swirl looks great.

Cherry said...

That's a pretty good looking pie! Glad you enjoyed the taste =)

I'm not to fond of meringues, but I felt the meringue was needed to "balance" the sour-ness of the lemon curd.

Big Boys Oven said...

oh you did a good job! so lovely so divine~

Princess of the kitchen said...

Love your spiralling meringue. Well done!

Dolores said...

You did a great job with January's challenge; congratulations!

Miss Ifi said...

That is a very nice looking pie!! Congratulations!!!, I must confess that when I was eating my tartlets I took the meringue off, I agree it just makes it too sweet, however some people felt it was too tart, but I like tart.
Anyway, beautiful PIE!!

javagirlkt's cookin' said...

It's beautiful! Your meringue looks perfect. I think you put just the right amount on and let it brown to exactly the right point.

Nice job.

Gato Azul | Chat Bleu said...

I agree that the lemon curd is scrumptious enough to eat alone. Meringue is so fantastic looking though that it creates a party

creampuff said...

Glad to see you back in the mix! Great pie!

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice pie - great job on piping the meringue!

Candace said...

Looks beautiful! Nice job on your meringue!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a lovely job on your pie!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go go

breadchick said...

Great job on your first 2008 challenge!

Claire said...

Pie looks great. Glad you got to do it!

Jen Yu said...

Nice job on your LMP and a great start to the new year! It looks terrific.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Caroline: Your meringue is gorgeous. I really liked the balance of the three parts in this one. So many different experiences with this one.

african vanielje said...

Caroline I'm not surprised your LMP made quite an impression at the dinner table. Well done, it looks truly tempting

Deborah Dowd said...

What a beautiful pie! I love lemon meringue, but I invariable burn the meringue in the broiler and have to scrape off the meringue and try again. Clearly I am a not so daring baker!

Elle said...

You might have preferred it without the meringue, but your meringue is just beautiful...a great swirl!