Sometimes I feel really glad that we have the daring baker challenges only once a month…that itself goes heavy on the waistline, especially with my sweet tooth. And this month too, we had a sweet challenge, namely lemon meringue pie (chosen by Jen of The Canadian Baker) . This was my sixth completed challenge.
Lemon meringue pie is a type of baked pie, usually served for dessert, made with a pastry base, lemon curd filling and a fluffy meringue topping. It is typically prepared with a bottom pie crust, but with no upper crust; that is, the meringue is directly on top of the lemon filling.
I have some experience of making pastry, so was a bit confident with it….the filling too did not seem too complicated . But I had never made meringue before, so this was a first for me. But, I am really glad to say that everything did come together quite well enough, without any hiccups and I was pleased with the outcome.
For our challenge , the main requirement was that the flavour had to be lemon. We were allowed some freedom to make it as a pie or take it further and make them as free form tartlets As I felt a bit confident, I took up the challenge and made them as tartlets. We could also decorate it in any way we wanted or compliment it with a fruity or chocolaty sauce. Conversions for dietary requirements were allowed too.
I completed the challenge at the eleventh hour, so could not really work my head round to making any other decorations apart from making them as free form tartlets. But, as I said earlier, I was lucky enough not to meet with any disaster, so was able to complete it on time. I did follow the exact recipe. I loved the crust…nice and crisp. The filling had also set nicely and the meringue was not too bad for a first time ( well, that’s what I thought!). As for the taste, well, I can only say that I enjoyed the making more than the eating…a tad too sweet for me..and am not a very great fan of meringue. But the filling was better and so was the crust.
The following is the recipe that we had to follow…Find out what the others have been up to here -
(from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6, 5 inch tartlets
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
- 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 ( after this step, I went to the steps for making the tartlets’ crust… the next seven steps are for the 10 inch pie)
- 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 and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
- Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before 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.
- 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.
Daring Bakers Extra Challenge: Free-Style Lemon Tartlets (this is what I followed after step 5 of making the crust…the methods for the filling and the meringue are the same)
(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,
- 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.
That’s it! Another challenge completed! Here’s a slice…