NOTE: I made this again as tartlettes and they came out great. I used a tbsp more cornstarch than the first time and it set beautifully. Also, doing things in a timely manner definitely helped :) 2/7/08
As Georgia mentioned in a previous post, I joined the Daring Bakers at the end of December and was so excited when I got my first DB challenge in early January. I love pie. I love pie maybe more than cake, and I love key lime pie more than any other pie, but as lemon meringue is not far off from key lime, I was psyched. Also, its a pie! I can handle pie! My biggest fear was that my first DB challenge would be a bread, as I'm scared of yeast and totally inexperienced with it. But it was pie, and I felt safe.
Well, you might guess from the title of this post that all did not go as planned. Here's what happened: I start making the pie at 5pm. I thought I would follow the order of the instructions and start with the crust, but unfortunately, I had forgotten to move some sticks of butter, earlier in the day, from the freezer to the refrigerator. So, I took the butter out of the freezer and instead started with the lemon part. Things were going well... the custard thickened up and tasted excellent, and I spooned it into a bowl and covered it, knowing it needed to cool anyway.
Then, stupidly, because the butter still wasn't yet usable, I thought I'd move onto the meringue. Now I've made meringue before, its totally easy, but for some reason I thought the crust wouldn't be a take-forever affair. So, I made the delicious meringue and left it sitting out. Now, you can imagine that after 30 minutes of sitting out in a bowl, the meringue started to fall... not TOO badly, but still... I started to feel concerned.
So, then I made the crust, baked it, and boy, I just couldn't stop myself when it came out of the oven, I tore a piece off the end and it tasted AWESOME. Now I was excited. I had great tasting crust, custard that looked stiff enough and yummy meringue.
So, I waited as patiently as I could for the crust to cool before I assembled the whole package. I put in the custard and it looked perfect. The meringue had kinda deflated a bit, but still held up fine. I popped the thing in the oven and it came out looking great. I was so excited. One challenge down, I thought. Anywho, I cut into this thing after letting it cool for 15 and it was lemon meringue pool inside. I'm not sure if it would have set better if I just let it sit for longer and cool down completely. Or maybe the custard was just wrong and so it was never going to set properly. Also, because the meringue had deflated while waiting, it got liquid-y very quickly. All this didn't stop Georgia and myself scooping out a slice each and eating it right away. It tasted great and I'm sure if I did it in more of a timely fashion and let it cool the appropriate amount I would have done a better job. Oh well, everyone has to start somewhere. :)
A big thanks to Jen at The Canadian Baker for hosting this month. Make sure to check and see how other bloggers did with this challenge at the Daring Bakers Blogroll.
Lemon Meringue Pie
(from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver)
Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) 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.