Sunday, 19 August 2007

When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Meringue Pie!

If you have been reading my blog for a few months now, you will realise how obsessed I am about the weather. I check the weather forecast each morning before I choose my outfit. Today, it has been a grey and wet day. My outfit - comfy trackies, t-shirt and an old college jumper.

This is perfect weather to be home and it's a good excuse not to go running. I've also been in a lot of pain since early Friday morning but I won't go into that right now. If you read the MeMe on 7 Random Things about Me back in July, you would know that I am allergic to pain medication. So, I have been suffering not-so-silently. Poor Quikong had to tolerate my grumpiness and hourly reports of the degree of pain I was experiencing. He's been so patient so I thought I should bake a nice treat for him. He loves lemon meringue pie (not with curd but regular lemon filling). If a pie can be referred to as happy, I would say that this is a happy pie due to the bright cheerful colours and the refreshing flavours. Perfect pain medication for me, don't you think?

I haven't made this pie for ages. My favourite lemon meringue pie recipe is in a cookbook which I left in Singapore, so this is from memory. Quiking just finished a slice and he said that it was "Very Good!". A man of few words. :-) So I guess this recipe is good enough for me to share with other bakers. The only problem I encountered was due to the my newly acquired 35 x 13 cm loose base rectangular tart pan. Due to it being quite a shallow tart pan, when I baked the pie with the filling and meringue, it over-flowed a little. When I've used a normal round flan tin in the past, I didn't have this problem because it was deep enough to hold the filling. This recipe makes one big and one mini pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Sweet Short Crust Pastry:
2 cups plain unbleached flour
2 tbsp ground almonds (almond meal)
155g butter
60g caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
ice water

Lemon Filling:
½ cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup lemon juice
1¼ cup water
finely grated lemon rind from 3 medium lemons
3 egg yolks
40g butter

4 egg whites
½ cup + 1 tbpn caster sugar


- Process flour, ground almonds, butter and sugar in a food processor till it resembles fine crumbs. Drizzle egg yolks and rind over the mixture and add enough iced water to form a soft dough. Remove dough and knead lightly. Form a round disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

- Roll out the pastry in between two plastic wraps or a lightly floured surface, large enough to fit a rectangular tart tin (or 9-inch flan tin) . Carefuly lift pastry into the tin without stretching the pastry. Press pastry into the flutted sides. Prick the base and sides witha fork. Chill for 30 minutes. This prevents shrikage of the pastry when baked. Pastry can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

- Line pastry with a sheet of non-stick baking paper and fill tin with baking weights or dried beans/rice. Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) for 20 mins. Remove the weights and paper and bake the pastry case for a further 20 mins, or until it is light golden in colour. Cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling:
- In a saucepan, combine cornflour with water and stir till cornflour dissolves. Add sugar and lemon juice.

- Over medium-high heat, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon till it thickens. Remove from heat and briskly stir in the egg yolks, rind and butter. Cool to room temperature.

- Whisk egg whites till it looks foamy.

- Add sugar gradually and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the pie:
Pour lemon filling into the pastry. Using a spatula and starting at the edges and working inwards, arrange the meringue over the filling. Bake for 20-30 mins. Cool before serving.


Lydia said...

I love that mini-pie; looks like the ultimate comfort food! I haven't had lemon meringue pie for years, but now I'm remembering how delicious it is.

Kelly Mahoney said...

It's so beautiful! Also, when I live in Chicago, I check the weather before I get dressed -- you never know what it's going to be like out there!

Wendy said...

Poor you! Hope you feel better soon, Nora.
That beautiful pie must have helped just a little?

Valli said...

I am drooling over here...or to more polite I will have to say salivating. Face it I am panting like a dog!!!!! I love Lemon Meringue Pie. Can you believe I have never made it!!!!I think I am intimidated by meringue...or the pie crust for sure!!!

Susan said...

Sorry you aren't feeling well, Nora. As much as I love lemon, I haven't made a lemon meringue pie in ages. Once the humidity drops, I will correct that. Thanks for the inspiration. You are also responsible for my belly full of sushi last night; I've had a hankering for it since your last post. : )

Nora B. said...

Lydia - The mini pie is cute, huh? I haven't touched it. Too cute to be eaten (for now...).

Kelly M - Thank you. And I'm glad I'm not the only one! :-)

Wendy - Making the pie definitely helped distract me from the pain. I highly recommended it for pain management. LOL

Valli - I am so certain that you won't have any trouble making this pie. If you have a food processor, it makes making the crust so much easier. Rolling it between two sheets of cling film makes it less cumbersome and easier to lift up into the pan. And meringues are actually easier to whip than most people think. I urge you to try!

Susan - Glad that I can inspire you for a change. I never thought about this before - humidity and meringues are not such good friends. As for sushi, did you make your own?
p/s: I made your lemon loaf last week and it was gone pretty quick. Dangerous stuff.... :-)

valentina said...

Oh, the top picture is just divine. The different textures have awed me. I have never made lemon pie. Well, lie.I did once and it was a total disaster as the filling never set. Reading about your weather obsession I would think that you live in england - we always talk about the weather over here. it rules our lives. Even mine, a Brazilian living in the UK for a tad too long.; o )

Anh said...

Yummy! Can you send one over to Melbourne? ;)

Kristen said...

Your meringue is gorgeous! How do you get it so beautiful?
I'm intrigued by your allergy to pain medication and would love to know what your reaction is. If you get a chance, e-mail me... I had a strange reaction to something the other day and we aren't sure what.

Margaret said...

In my house lemon meringue pie is top of the list. Shame it takes for ever to make and then we devour it greedily in less time than it takes to cook! Yours looks amazing.

Aimée said...

Dear Nora- I hope you are feeling better soon, but I think in the meantime, you are on the right track with using desserts as an alternative to pain medication. Looks superb!

Cynthia said...

ahh, ahh, ahh, I just want to lick that topping!

Sorry to hear you're in pain hon :( Sending you lots of hugs to get better.

Mandy said...

sorry that you are not feeling well. I eat dark chocolate whenever I am in pain, and it seems to help. But I am sure a piece of your gorgeous lemon meringue pie would take away any pain too. :)

Janet said...

Lemon meringue pie is one of those things that has just never grown on me (maybe its not fattening enough for my tastes!)... give my coconut cream pie, or banana cream pie anyday... it's too bad because my kids and Mario LOVE lemon meringue...

Patricia Scarpin said...

What's not to love here, Nora? This pie is pure temptation!
I love all things citrus and would have to forgive my manners and ask for seconds, thirds...

Holler said...

Wow you made a really good job of both those pies. I haven't made lemon meringue pie, but I am now heavily tempted!

The Cooking Ninja said...

Hope you are feeling better.

We are having lousy summer this year. Hardly any hot's more like spring and today it rained the whole day !!! :(

Your lemon pie is so beautiful and delicious!

Nora B. said...

Valentina - With this recipe, you shouldn't have a problem since you will know before filling the pie if the filling is thick enough since you make the filling ahead of time. As a rough estimate 1/2 cornflour to 1 3/4 of liquid (you can adjust the amount of lemon & water). If it's not thick enough for your preference, just make a bit more cornflour paste 9cornflour mixed with a bit of water) and add it to the saucepan.
p/s: I'm the same, I never used to care too much about the weather till I moved to Sydney!

Anh - I would if there was any left! :-)

Kristen - Thanks! The meringue was really easy to make. I am not fanatic when making meringues -
the only thing I made sure was that the eggs white were kind of at room temperature (the time it took me to prepare the filling and pie crust was enough). Even when a bit of egg yolk has fallen into my egg whites, after scooping out as much as runaway egg yolks as I could, I still don't have any trouble whipping it to a stiff peak.
p/s: It was nice chatting with you on e-mail.

Margaret - Yes, it does take a bit of time but I had no where to rush to on Sunday. Plus, I was multi-tasking in between making the crust, filling & meringue by doing the laundry and other chores. ;-)

Aimée - Thank you. I am feeling a bit better. I need to bake, erm, I mean make a new pain management strategy now that the pie is gone.

Cyhthia - Thanks, dear! Hugs are also good for pain. :-)

Janet - oooh, I love banana cream pie!

Patricia - Thank you! I have to admit that I had two slices that same day that I made it.

Holler - Thanks! This pie take a bit of time, but it's not complicated and I think it's worth it.

Nora B. said...

Cooking Ninja - Thank you. Fortunately, I am feeling a bit better.

Apparently, the rain on Sunday was the heaviest rain fall for August in Sydney in 9 years! There were a few road closures due to flooding. But it's good for us since we are having a water shortage.

valentinA said...

I'm like Lydia, I haven't eaten any lemon meringue for ages! Can you send me a piece of your beautiful pie pleasE??:)

Kelly-Jane said...

How good does that look? Waving fork madly!

Hope you are ok with your pain, well what I mean is hope it's going away!


Nora B. said...

Valetina - I'm sorry but it's all gone. It was too good to resist. :-)

Kelly-Jane - Thank you :-) And yes, thankfully the pain is going away.