Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers do Lemon Meringue Pie : Sunshine on a winter day


Because I will be vacationing until mid Feb, I completely this month's challenge the week before we left. I am glad that our host for this month- Janet of Canadian Baker has chosen Lemon Meringue Pie as January challenge. As much as I love lemon, I have never made lemon meringue pie before. So this is indeed a great challenge to conquer.

Since we have an early morning flight to catch, I will cut short the rambling and get straight to my experience with this month's challenge.

making lmp

The recipe is a straightforward one, although it involves 3 steps: crust, filling and meringue. It should be a breeze if I wasn't feeling unwell. I suspect I may have added 1 cup more of flour while making the crust. My crust turns out dry and hard.

lmp process

The filling is on the loose side, but firm up upon cooling. Although I find the filling too sour initially, upon topped with meringue, the tart has the perfect balance of flavor.Surprisingly the sweet meringue pairs really well with the tart filling.

Instead of making one big lemon meringue pie, I opt for the mini version and make 6 3-inches tarts. OCT ends up passing two tarts to a stranger who asks him for change to buy food. I am not entirely sure if it's because the tart doesn't appear to him or he is just a kind person. :)


As I have limited internet access, I will have to check out the rest of the Daring Bakers' Lemon Meringue Pies when I return from vacation. You can check out my fellow Daring Bakers lemon meringue pies by clicking the pink Daring Bakers logo on my right side bar. These pies have brighten up my otherwise gloomy winter day, and I hope they would do the same to you too!

lmp cut section

Lemon Meringue Pie
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.

Free-Style Lemon Tartlets
(from "Ripe for Dessert" by David Lebovitz)

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:

To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough, position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF. Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks.

Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.


maybahay said...

very cute tarts. well done!

Manggy said...

Mandy, I love how all of you seemed to somehow have different ways of applying meringue, as if you all agreed to be very unique heh heh :) Happy vacation!

Megan said...

Love the piping! And how sweet to give some to a stranger. Bet that was a good story for him to tell.

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Beautiful little tarts! great job on the challenge!

Ann said...

Adorable! Love the piping!

Happy cook said...

It looks so good.
I think I am drooling on all the pie i've seen today :-)

Sarah said...

The look good...even if your crust didn't turn out. Hope you have a good vacation!

Aimée said...

These are really pretty! Your lemon curd looks nice and firm. Impressive!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Very beautiful lemon tarts! Impressive photos as well. Hope the vacation is wonderful!

~Amber~ said...

Your little tarts look awesome!! Congratulations on a job well done.

Claire said...

I love you tarts...the meringue looks like little marshmallows! LOVE it.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Great job! Your meringue looks like little marshmallows.

Nan said...

Look at the cute little piped tops! I totally envy your mini tart tins...I *really* need to get someone to buy me some :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your merinque is so unique! I really like it!

Deborah said...

Your tarts look perfect! Great job!

Jenny said...

Your pictures are outstanding! Your pies are absolutely adorable! Nice challenge.

S. said...

They look so cute! And your meringue browned so nicely.

S. said...

They look so cute! And your meringue browned so nicely.

Lin said...

Hi Mandy, I happened to chance upon your blog. Your lemon meringue pies look cute! They reminded me of the time I did my baking classes in the culinary program! Yep meringue pies are usually pretty to look at but taste wise, I wouldn't say it's the best tasting pies out there :D

kellypea said...

Very nice. Don't you just love piping that meringue? And congrats on being so organized. In my next life, I'll get there. Nice job!

KayKat said...

*wow*! Those tartlets rock, the piping is just perfect.

Congratulations :)

Andrea said...

Your little tarts look lovely! And I agree, the challenge was like getting a taste of summer in January (at least where I live in the U.S.)!

Tartelette said...

Love the last picture...gorgeous! I am sure you must have a wonderful time with your family!

Dolores said...

Wow... I love your 'half eaten' tart photograph. If I was hungry and asking for food money, I would gladly eat two or three of these.

I'm glad you were able to participate this month in spite of your busy schedule. Enjoy your vacation; we'll be here when you get back. :)

carrie said...

Your little tarts look lovely! great job on the challenge.

culinography said...

So cute! Love the meringue!

ovenhaven said...

I am pretty sure that your OCT gave them away out of the kindness of his heart. Your tarts look too brilliant not to be shared around!

Lunch Buckets said...

Love the baby pies :)

The Downtown Boutique said...

These are very cute, and look so yummy. The meringue looks like wonderful mini marshmallows toasted lightly on THAT I might be able to eat!

Annina said...

hey! I really like your blog! So I posted your link on my one: hope this is ok! I'm also on daring bakers! :-) CU bye, Annina (Ann)

creampuff said...

Those are just adorable! Nicely done!

rv said...

Those looks so lovely! Loved your blog:) very cute tarts:)

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