Friday, December 4, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

There's lemon and then there's lemon. This is the latter. A good lemon dessert should make you go weak at the knees, and this one does not disappoint. It might even be almost as good as the perfect lemon tart.

To spread the meringue "decoratively" over the pie (as the recipe suggests), take a rubber spatula and smooth the meringue over the entire pie. Then gently press the spatula into the meringue and lift up, leaving small peaks behind. If your meringue isn't quite as stiff, your peaks will tip slightly, as you seen my did.

If you've ever made a pie with meringue, you know that it's in its nature to "weep," or slowly loose volume as the sugar begins to dissolve into a syrup. I've tried every "no fail" trick I've been able to find (room-temperature eggs, cold eggs, adding corn starch, chilling the bowl, etc), and still my meringue weeps. And shrinks, too. So don't be alarmed if your pie has a weeping, shrinking meringue; you've done nothing wrong. Hopefully one day in the future I'll be able to post some tips to making a perfect meringue, but for now, this one will have to suffice. I'm sure you'll manage to enjoy it nonetheless.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe adapted from Gourmet January 2008
Pictures by Caroline

For Crust
Use a store bought crust to simplify things or try this recipe.
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round, then fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick shell all over with a fork, then chill 30 minutes.
  2. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or raw rice. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom and side are golden, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350°F.
For Filling:
5 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  1. Whisk together yolks in a small bowl.
  2. In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add water and milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently as mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Remove from heat and gradually whisk about 1 cup milk mixture into yolks, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture (this will prevent the eggs from cooking too quickly, leaving you with nasty looking scrambled bits).
  4. Add lemon zest and juice and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until incorporated. Cover surface with wax paper to keep hot.
For meringue
5 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 superfine granulated sugar
  1. Beat whites with cream of tartar and salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks.
  2. Increase speed to high and add superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until meringue just holds stiff, glossy peaks.
To assemble pie:
  1. Pour hot filling into warm pie shell and gently shake to smooth top. Spread meringue decoratively over hot filling, covering filling completely.
  2. Immediately bake until meringue is golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack, 2 to 3 hours. Chill until serving.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

All this great food, with so little time for baking. Hopefully, I'll have a spot of time once I go on "vacation."

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