Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bye bye Ms. Lemon Meringue Pie

Last week when I made the Rocky Road bars, I said that the recipe came from a cookbook that the Dude gave me several years ago. He picked it up because it had a recipe for Lemon Meringue pie. It is one of his favorites and I have made it many times. Not real often as it is a little labor intensive. I made two pies Tuesday to bring to work on Wednesday. Randy likes pie, but eating a whole pie probably isn't a good thing to do and I only like Pecan and chocolate mousse. I should have known things wouldn't go well when I tried to make the crust and it fell apart. Thankfully I had backup in the fridge: refrigerated pie crusts. The filling went great, so I thought. I had a small problem with the stabilizer for the meringue topping and had to redo that. The meringue whipped up fine. I covered that bad boy from edge to edge making sure I covered every speck of filling. Baked it off, put it on the rack to cool. Covered it and put it in the fridge with the other cooled pie. Got to work-the meringue had shrunk away from the edges and the filling got all watery. They downed both pies and said they liked them, even if it kind of looked like soup. I have no idea what happened. My ingredients were all fresh. I have made it before with stellar results. No idea. I think maybe I should not drink rum and cokes while baking? My husband-trying to be helpful-said "maybe you used old stuff" 'maybe you used 1 cup when you should have used 1/2 a cup' 'maybe you used flour and not cornstarch'. I told him I know how to read and maybe he should stop talking.

Here is the recipe anyway. It is normally fantastic-and pretty. From Diner Desserts:

Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie
1 fully baked pie crust
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup water
5 large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP butter cut into tablespoons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Meringue Topping:
4 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 egg whites (from the eggs used up in filling)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I always use regular)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in upper third of the oven. Make sure pie crust is baked and fully cooled. To make lemon filling, in a medium nonreactive saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt until well combined. Gradually whisk in the water until smooth. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cornstarch mixture into the yolks, then return the yolk mixture to the saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly. Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute or until very thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon zest and juice and butter, whisking until butter is completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Leave filling in saucepan while preparing meringue topping. To make the meringue topping, in a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch and water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds or until translucent. Whisk in vanilla. Remove from heat and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat the whites while gradually adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat the whites on high speed until they are glossy but not dry. Whisk a scoop of the beaten whites into the cornstarch paste until blended. On low speed, beat the cornstarch mixture into the remaining whites, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase speed back to medium-high and whip just until stiff peaks form. To assemble pie, place the pan containing the filling back on the heat to reheat for a minute. Scrape the hot mixture into the baked pie crust and smooth the top. Scrape the meringue into a pastry bag and using a large star tip, pipe high dollops of meringue on top, covering the filling completely, or pile it on the pie and spread over pie edge to edge with the back of a spoon (which is what I did). Bake pie for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temp or chilled.
Before baking-edge to edge
Looks good here, only I like it a little more brown. Hubby offered to let me use the torch, but I declined-rum being on the counter and all.
Off to bed-working some OT again. I'm ordering that new camera this weekend. My Dad bought his from a place in New York so I am ordering it through there-the best deal we could find with lots of extras. Please let it help with the photos!


noble pig said...

Nice's been too long since I've had one of these! I always love them.

Heather said...

i love lemon meringue pie! i think yours looks just wonderful. i don't enjoy when my husband offers his "helpful suggestions" on recipes, either ;)