Saturday, May 23, 2009

A year of pies: Lemon Meringue

The recipe from C's pie anniversary book was not so hot. The filling turned out just awful, so it was back to the store for more lemons and off to the internet to find a better recipe. I used the meringue recipe from the original, just had to remake the filling. The first had way too much flour and not nearly enough sugar. It turned out well in the end, but C still ranks the blueberry pie as the best. I used the Martha Stewart crust recipe and I plan on using the excess crust to make strawberry tarts tomorrow or Monday.

Lemon Meringue Pie

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

For meringue
7 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup superfine granulated sugar

Make filling:
Whisk together yolks in a small bowl.

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually add water and milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently as mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and gradually whisk about 1 cup milk mixture into yolks, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture. 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.

Make Meringue:
Beat whites with cream of tartar and salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to high and add superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until meringue just holds stiff, glossy peaks.

Assemble and bake pie:
Pour hot filling into warm pie shell and gently shake to smooth top. Spread meringue decoratively over hot filling, covering filling completely.

Immediately bake until meringue is golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack, 2 to 3 hours. Cut with a serrated knife dipped in cold water.

Pie Crust
(one crust)
2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1//2 inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together.

Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using.
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