28 January 2008

The Daring Bakers' January Challenge - Lemon Meringue Pie

I read quite a lot about the Daring Bakers and finally plucked enough courage to join them. January was my first challenge and was pleased to find out that it was going to be Lemon Meringue Pie.
I have made this quite often as lemons are very abundant in my part of the country and at this time of year, I get boxfuls of them from farmers. Most of the time I grate the lemons and freeze the zest and also squeeze out the lemon juice and freeze in ice cube trays. Then I empty into a freezer container and I always have lemon zest and lemon juice handy.
Making a different version to my of the LMG was a challenge and was reluctant to divert from my usual recipe. But I was happy to try and compare to my own.

I found the recipe quite easy to follow despite the cup measurements. I do have american cup measures but find them a pain to use. I did use them though and out of curiosity, I decided to weigh the ingredients afterwards. It was perhaps a coincidence that the weight in grams was almost the same as the amounts given by the Canadian Baker in mls. I wonder whether she meant grams in the recipe instead of mls.
I approached making the filling with trepidation as quite a few DBs posted that they had problems with the filling being runny. I did not have such problems. I did not like the idea of adding vanilla extract with the lemon but decided to add it so as to follow the recipe exactly. It changed the beautiful lemony colour of the filling to a dingy colour and I know not to use it the next time.

The LMP set very nicely, did not weep at all and the meringue was nice and soft on the inside. I hardly had time to photograph it as it was waffled down in a couple of hours. (There is only 2 of us in the household)

I thought I would give a pictorial step by step account of my challenge. This will remind what I had to do for the next time. The recipe for this month was hosted by The Canadian Baker

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie
For the Crust:
¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water
For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
¾ 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
½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For 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 ⅛ 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 ½ 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.

For 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.

For 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.

Pie recipe courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002Tartlet recipe courtesy of Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz, 2003


Faery said...

mnn it looks beautiful and yummy

Tarah said...

Lovely pie! Turned out wonderful! Congrats on your first challenge!!

SweetDesigns said...

mmm Looks wonderful!!! Congrats on your first challenge!!!

Karen said...

Very nice pie and post. I love all of the pictures

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Great job! What a lucky girl you are to receive so many lemons!

Ann said...


Ann at Redacted Recipes

Madam Chow said...

So lovely! I, too, was confused my the mL measurements, but just used my American measures. Everything worked out find.

michelle said...

Very nice! Welcome to the DB'ers!

Susan said...

Well done first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers.

Meryl said...

Very nice--congratulations on a beautiful pie!

Canadian Baker said...

Congrats! Your pie looks great and I wish my filling turned out as well as yours!

DK said...

pics luks great and congrats on ur first one :)

Deborah said...

Great job on your first challenge!!

I(dot)J said...

Looking great... good job.


Laura Rebecca said...

Yummy. Congrats on your first challenge!

Beth G. said...

What a fabulous post- congratulations on your first challenge- great pics!!

Aparna said...

Congratulations, your pie looks great. My first challenge, too.
Your pictures on the other posts are also quite lovely.

Big Boys Oven said...

very well execute, looks so cool! like it so much!

Candace said...

Lovely even browning of your meringue! Grea first challenge!

breadchick said...

Great job on the challenge this month!

Fruit tart said...

Congratulations on completing your first Daring Bakers challenge! No wonder it didn't last long!

Lunch Buckets said...

Congratulations on your first success! I live in the land of unwanted citrus and not one person has offered me any this year. I think I may pout.

Jen Yu said...

You did such a nice job with your lemon meringue pie! Congratulations!

creampuff said...

Nicely done!

Peabody said...

Great sequence of photos. Welcome to the Daring Bakers.

Claire said...

Sounds like you enjoyed the pie! Great job on your first challenge! And I love that plate.

Anonymous said...

Looks good!

MrsPresley said...

great job!

i just joined the DB this month, just checking out everyone else’s blogs, wanted to say hello :)