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.