I was stoked when I heard about this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. It was for my absolute favorite dessert. The one I have asked for every single birthday. Lemon Meringue Pie. KICK ASS! This was going to be the best challenge ever!
This month’s challenge comes from Jen of The Canadian Baker. She must be brilliant, she picked Lemon Meringue Pie for godssakes. Thank you, Thank you Jen! Your the best!
As the weeks passed, complaints about said pie began to creep up on the DB blog. I ignored the complaints, even chastising some of the people for being so harsh. And I mean just plain mean! You know who you are. There is no way there would be any problems with MY pie. I love lemon meringue pie and mine would be perfect. Oh yes! Mine would be PERFECT!
I set out on a Sunday morning to start the pie. I made the crust, which came together rather easily in the processor. I stuck it in the fridge and left it. An hour or 2 later, I went back and fetched the crust. Rolled ‘er out. Stuck ‘er in the plate. Filled with rice. In the oven she went. When she was done, she was perfect. Well minus my awful fluting skills. Really awful. That didnt matter. Things were going fine.
When the crust was cooled, I started on the filling. It came together, was very, very thick. It looked nice and yellow. It was perfect! I told you, MY pie would be perfect. I poured the filling into the crust, covered with saran and left it to cool. I was following the recipe to a T. I wanted my pie to be perfect!
When the filling was cool, I got going on the meringue. Once again, it was fine. It tasted good. I was feeling lazy, so I didnt pipe it on all fancy like. I just slathered it on with a palette knife. But it looked damn good. Into the oven it went. 15 minutes later, the buzzer buzzed and out it came. PERFECT!!! I did it, see I told you. I told you MY pie would be perfect. I left it alone to rest.
1 hour later, I came to check on my perfect pie. Ut-oh. Oh no. No, no, no, no, NOOO! My meringue had pulled away from the crust. And some nasty liquid was peeking out from below. My pie was mocking me. I could hear it laughing. I stuck the pie in the fridge. Praying to the meringue pie gods to fix ‘er up. An hour later, I checked again. My poor pie. My poor perfect pie. She was not perfect. She was far from perfect. Yes, she looked the part. However, upon cutting into the pie, a stream of watery liquidy goo oozed out all over the place. My perfect crust was now soggy. My perfect meringue was still good to go. And still tasty. But the filling. Oh filling, how you did me wrong. I ate one piece. It was good. But with all the watery goo, and soggy crust. It wasnt the pie I dreamed it would be.
Lemon Meringue Pie
(from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)
Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008
Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)
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.
I had a vision this morning when I woke up. It was probably because my body was in desperate need of caffeine. (The baby is still waking me up to eat several times a night..) And in this house, the go to caffeine drink is Mountain Dew. Jaos loves, loves, loves the Dew. He always has. Im normally a cola girl. Coke to be exact. But Im known to sneak a Dew now and then. You know, just for caffeine purposes. Not because I yearn for that citrusy taste or anything. Oh that sweet bite of the first sip of Dew. Mmmm.
Okay, Okay, so I came up with a Mountain Dew cupcake. I took a basic yellow cake recipe and tweaked it. I zested 2 limes and 1 lemon. Then juiced both. I added half the zest to the batter and half to the frosting. In place of the norm of milk in the batter, I used lemon juice, lime juice and Mountain Dew. And substituted lemon extract for vanilla. I used the lemon juice, lime juice, lemon extract and Dew in the buttercream as well.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. They are incredibly Dew like!!! When tasting the batter, I was worried there was too much lime. But after they baked, it mellowed quite a bit. They came out really moist as well. The buttercream continued the lemony lime flavor, with a tad bite. Just like Dew. I think if I had added a smidge of orange, just a tad of orange zest, I would have nailed it. But I am really pleased with how they came out on the first go round. I would recommend these to anyone with a Dew lover in their house. Or anyone who loves citrus!
Mountain Dew Cupcakes
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup Mountain Dew
1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice (juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime)
zest from 1 lemon and 2 limes (separate into 2 piles, one for buttercream)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar and lemon, lime zest. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, Scrape sides of bowl in between additions
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Turn on low for 5 seconds.
5. Add the Mountain Dew, lemon/lime juice, and lemon extract . Mix to combine.
5. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Mountain Dew Buttercream
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Mountain Dew
Juices from half of 1 lemon and half of 1 lime.
Lemon and lime zest (rest of zest from cupcake recipe. Or zest from half of 1 lemon and 1 whole lime)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
neon green food coloring (yellow and blue if you dont have green)
1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
2. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy
3. Add half of the sugar, turn mixer on low for 5 seconds.
4. Add the Mountain Dew, zest, and lemon extract . Beat until combined.
5. Add food coloring to the desired color.
6. Gradually add remaining sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
I found this gem of a recipe on The Glutton. I knew instantly my husband, Jaos, would love them. He is a sucker for lemon. And when I told him I found an easy Lemon Bar recipe he said “Make them now, please?”. I was running low on butter, so after a quick run to the store, it was on. I stayed true to the recipe, only deviating by greasing the bottom of the pan. I wish I had done the sides too, bc the very edge caramelized to the side and will not budge off. Im having to cut the bars out from underneath that edge. I dont know if a chisel would get that caramelly edge off. But the bits I was able to pry off, are heaven.
This recipe could not have been simpler. It is made with things I normally always have on hand. And they are incredibly good! Jaos and I could not wait for them to cool. We ate them warm right out of the pan and it was heaven. Took all we could not to go back for seconds. So, I thank you Holly@the glutton. This is a keeper for me. And Jaos thanks you too!
Lemon Bars of Enlightenment
(Recipe snagged from here.)
1 C Butter (I softened it, and that
seemed to work)
2 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
dash of salt
It will be crumbly. Press lightly into 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for
10-15 minutes and cool slightly. Don’t turn off the oven
4 beaten eggs
6 T fresh lemon juice
2 C sugar and
1/4 C flour stirred together
Stir all the filling ingredients together
and pour over pre-baked crust. Bake all together at 350 for 25 minutes.
Optional: dust with powdered sugar.
This is another from my Better Homes and Gardens classic cookbook. The recipe is actual for a triple layer lemon cake. But I adapted it for cupcakes. I omitted the lemon curd because I did not have any cornstarch on hand. The cake came out….spongier than I thought it would I guess. Judging by the batter, I thought it would be more like a dense poundcake type cake. The texture and consistency was almost exactly like my Grandmother’s Coconut Poundcake batter. I filled the cups too high, so some of the cakes overflowed. And they all had a dip in the middle. Some more severe than others. The other suspicious trait was the cupcake papers were all soaked through. They did not stay dry but rather came out kind of greasy.
The taste of the cake was good however. A light lemon flavor. I made the lemon cheese cream frosting that was listed with the cake. And it came out perfect. I added way more lemon juice and zest than it called for. But less sugar. I lightly frosted the tops of the cakes as to not over do the frosting like I did on the last batch of banana cupcakes. All in all, they turned out okay. Ill probably keep searching for a better lemon cake recipe. But the neighbors, husband and kids gave them good reviews.
Triple Layer Lemon Cake (Or as I read that, Lemon Cupcakes)
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 recipe Lemon Curd
1 recipe Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour three 9 inch round cake pans. (Or line your cupcake tin with liners.) In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice; beat well until combined. Add ggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour into prepared pans.
3. Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. (I baked my cupcakes for about 14 minutes.) Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks.
4. To assemble, place a cake on a cake plate. Spread with half the Lemon Curd. Top with second layer cake; spread with remaining Lemon Curd. Top with remaining layer cake. Frost the top and sides with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover and store cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature for 30 min before serving. (I omitted the Lemon Curd step as I did not have cornstarch on hand, and merely frosted the cupcakes.)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cup up
2/3 cup water
1. In a medium saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and 2/3 cup water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in half of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks. Return the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
2. Add butter pieces, stirring until melted. Cover surface of the curd with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or transfer to a freezer container; freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator before serving.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 cups powdered sugar
In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, butter and lemon juice. Beat on low to medium until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Stir in lemon peel. (I added a lot more lemon juice than this called for. I estimate I used a total of 3 tablespoons. I also increased the lemon peel to 2 teaspoons, and used less sugar than called for. )