Sunday, January 27, 2008

A ray of sunshine





I loved the DB'rs challenge this month. The lemon meringue tarts were like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise cold and rainy month. They even look like a sunny day!


I have read that many people had trouble with this recipe, but I had a good time with it and thought the pie was great. Instead of making one 10 inch pie I made an 8 inch tart, 2 free form tarts, and 2 mini pies. The pastry recipe for the crust was a little different than any I'd ever tried before. I was a little skeptical but I thought it held up better than most pastry crusts to the lemon filling. I made it the night before making the pie. It was really easy to roll and make into the free form disks.

I thought the crust tasted okay but probably would use another recipe in the future.

I did have a bit of trouble with the filling but it was because I misread the directions. I put a cup of the hot water, sugar, cornstarch mixture into the egg mixture before bringing it back to a boil...oops!!! So I had to start again. At least I only lost the sugar water and eggs. I hadn't put the lemon in yet so no need to juice 3 or 4 more lemons:) The second attempt came out just perfect, nicely set.

Making the meringue was a blast! I haven't made it in a long time and had forgotten how satisfying a process it can be! I love it when the egg whites become pure white and billowy. It's like magic:) I played around with the meringue. I made really tall peaks on the free form tarts...fun.
The only problem with lemon meringue is that it doesn't hold up well and needs to be eaten the day(with in hours)it's made. No one wants to eat a soggy crust! After making all my lovely tarts I started calling neighbors to help eat them...I got no complants:)
Thanks Jen for a fun challenge that brought a little sunshine into my January! Check out all the other DB'rs take on lemon meringue pies.

Lemon Meringue Pie
(from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver)

Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

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

To Make the Crust:
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. 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. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

To Make the 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.

To Make the Meringue:
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
(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, first 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.

45 comments:

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Great job on the LMP. Turned out lovely!

Ann said...

Beautiful LMP!

Cakespy said...

YAY!!! Wonderful work! It truly is like a ray of sunshine.

slush said...

They look like little punk rock porcupines, very cool! Great job!

Tempered Woman said...

Great pics- congrats on some gorgeous tarts!

Foodie Froggy said...

Your tarlet looks great, I love the meringue ! Very classy !

Baking Soda said...

Teehee! Spikey Pie!
Looks good, well done

DaviMack said...

Love those spikes - beautiful pie!

Lesley said...

Very fun meringue design!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

A ray of sunshine is right. I enjoyed this pie as well after I got past the pools of butter in my crust! Beautiful meringue!

crumblycookie said...

Aw, your tartlets with their spikes do look like the sun! I love it!

S. said...

I like your photo montage: )

You tarts turned out great!

SweetDesigns said...

Fantastic Job!!! They look great!!

I(dot)J said...

Looking great... good job.

Iisha

glamah16 said...

Beautiful Job.

Angel said...

I adore your free form tarts. They are so cute, and look so tasty. I almost want to try making some myself now. Congrats on a very successful project!!!

Nikki said...

Neat! I like how you did the photos!

Gretchen Noelle said...

very lovely LMPs! You did a great job and I love that you tried different size versions, what a great job!

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Wow, that is some killer meringue! Wonderful job.

Peabody said...

Looks like you had much fun with the meringue.

Barbara said...

Nice to read a positive experience on the LMP challenge.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I loved making my little tarts too - I love your meringues! Too cute!

Kim Stone said...

Oooohhh! Spikey! I love them.

Tracy said...

Nice work! I'll bet you're very popular with your neighbors!

Deborah said...

Wonderful job!! I love all of the spikes on the meringue!

linda said...

The spiky meringue is so cute!

Dhanggit said...

great job on your LMP!! they look really delicious...btw, I simply adore your couture cupcake!! the best that i have seen :-)

cookworm said...

I love the tall peaks on the tartlets, they look so much more striking and whimsical that way! Nice job on the challenge!

Miss Ifi said...

Your little tartlets look great!! sooo cute and the pictures are awesome too, I am happy to hear that another fellow daring baker did not have any problems with the recipe yay!! I love your plates and.. I love your couture cupcakes underneath *nods*

Dolores said...

Your tartlets truly are a ray of sunshine on a drizzly bay area winter day. Thanks for sharing your experience with our January challenge. Your free-form tart is gorgeous.

Meeta said...

Simply lovely. You did an awesome job on the challenge this month.

Dianne's Dishes said...

Your meringue is gorgeous! :)

Molly Loves Paris said...

I love the spiky tartlets, they are like pretend suns made for a children's play. Bien fait.

Nora B. said...

Love the spiky meringues. Fantastic work!

culinography said...

Great job!!!

Cynthia said...

Indeed! Congrats on another fine task!

Lunch Buckets said...

Love the sweetie pies, very nice :)

Quellia said...

Oooh so cute!
One of mine lasted over several days and we didn't find the crust got soggy at all.

Mindy said...

Your meringue IS fun. What drama! high high peaks- Like the himalayan meringue mountain range...

nice work...!

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh! those tarlets really rocks! we love your styling! gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Wow awesome photos! :)

Amelia

http://curiousfoodie.wordpress.com/

Claire said...

Great job on your tarts! Hope you enjoyed it.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Your my-rangs are beautiful!

Anita said...

I love your collage of photos - they totally capture the beauty of your tarts!

creampuff said...

A ray of sunshine indeed! Beautiful!