Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

I am not usually a fan of Lemon Meringue Pie but I absolutely loved this one! This came from the wonderful book "Pie, 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie" by Ken Haedrich.


1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
big pinch of salt
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare the pastry (see recipe below) and make sure it is firm enough to roll.
2. Roll the pastry out and invert it into a 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan and tuck it into the pan without stretching it. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes and pre-bake it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
3. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size saucepan, whisking to mix. Add the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the egg yolks, whisking the mixture well. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking nonstop until the mixture comes to a boil, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook, whisking nonstop for about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time. Immediately pour the filling into the cooled pie shell, jiggling the pan to settle it. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the filling, taking care not to leave any gaps or air pockets, to prevent a skin from forming. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for up to 1 day if not adding the meringue right away.
4. Just before serving, preheat the broiler and make the meringue. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until they hold soft peaks. (Please be sure the bowl is clean!) Beat in the cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add the superfine sugar, beating until the whites are thick and glossy, though not dry. Add the vanilla and beat briefly. Mound the meringue over the filling, spreading so it is domed in the center and touching the crust all around the edge.
5. Place the pie in the center rack in the oven and briefly brown the meringue under the broiler. This will be quick so don't walk away. Serve immediately.

Pastry - Single Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup very cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or stand mixer and combine. Add the cold butter in and combine until they are pea-sized nuggets in the flour. Add in the shortening and combine. Add the water slowly while mixing until dough comes together. Add more water or four as necessary to make it come together. Dump the flour mixture onto a floured surface and kneed a few times. Split the dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

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