02 January 2010

Lemony goodness

A fascinating true fact about me is that I love lemon. Lemonade is in my interests on Facebook, that's how you know I mean it - it's right there between gingersnaps and salami.

So I am thrilled to be able to announce that I've had success in making one of my favorite combinations of sweet and tart, lemon meringue pie! And it only took me two attempts. The first one was ages ago, and frankly was not very well made. Just all around sad, really. See here? I didn't really understand the fussiness of meringue, which is why you see nary a stiff peak. The lemon filling had cooled and settled before I even applied that pathetic meringue, which is why there is weeping and separating all over the place. Still tasty... but my goal was tasty AND awesome-looking.

This time I did my homework, and read up on the special needs of meringue. I used just egg whites and sugar. Absolutely NO yolk, so each egg should be separated very carefully and individually, so just in case a yolk breaks, it doesn't pollute the rest of the whites. No touching the whites with grubby fingers, because the oils on your skin could be enough to ruin it. Seriously, very high maintenance - but WORTH IT! Behold the beauty of a meringue peak.

Also just for kicks, here's my pie crust. I thought it looked neat.

So here's how you do this thing: make a batch of lemon filling (recipe below), and pour it hot into the baked crust. IMMEDIATELY slather meringue on top, make some peaks by smacking the back of a spoon around on it, then throw it in the oven at 350 F until the top is attractively browned, about 10 minutes. Behold!

Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tbs flour
- 3 tbs cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Juice and zest from 2 lemons
- 2 tbs butter
- 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
- 6 tbs white sugar

Bake pie crust prior to starting the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together dry ingredients (1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt) in a saucepan, then stir in water, lemon juice and zest. Stir together over medium-high heat until boiling, then stir in butter.

Beat 4 egg yolks in a small bowl, then temper by whisking in 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining lemon mixture.

Bring back to a boil and continue to cook, stirring constantly until thick. Lower the heat, but keep mixture hot while making the meringue.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites while gradually adding 6 tbs sugar, until stiff peaks form.

Pour hot lemon filling into pie crust, and spread meringue over the top, sealing the edges to the crust. Bake in preheated oven until meringue is golden brown.

No comments: