Monday, 28 January 2008

Daring Bakers Jan 2008: Lemon Meringue Pie

Greetings from Tasmania, an Australian island south-east of mainland Australia. I've been here with Quikong for over a week now. Lots of outdoor adventures, enjoying the fresh produce and relaxation. No internet, TV or mobile for most of our trip. It's been really refreshing. I'll write more about this wonderful place in my next post.

I have 3 hours before my flight back to Sydney and remembered that I have to post the first Daring Bakers' challenge for 2008, hosted by Jen of The Canadian Baker. So here I am at an internet cafe. I don't intend to be here long, so excuse this quick post. I have to hunt down more plump oysters and luscious cherries before I leave this beautiful island.

Jen chose Lemon Meringue Pie for this month's challenge because after all the holiday treats, she wanted something lighter. I've made lemon meringue pie heaps of times before and was excited to try a new recipe. I actually ended up baking this pie twice during the two weeks I was in Singapore because my family loved it so much. Jen, my family thanks you for picking this pie because it's my sister's favourite dessert.

I made a "standard" pie for the challenge (very un-daring of me, I know...) but you can check out my mini lemon meringue tart that I wrote about last year here. Do check out the other pies created by the other Daring Barkers here.

Kitchen Notes:
- Working in hot & humid weather:
I had to work very quickly because of the hot and humid Singapore weather. I also had to make the pastry by hand because despite Mom's vast collection of gadgets, she did not have a food processor. As a Daring Baker, I had to rise to the challenge - I froze the butter and that helped somewhat.
- Meringue oven temperature:
I also did not know Mom's oven that well. The photo you see is from my first attempt. On my second attempt, I used a much lower temperature to bake the meringue and was happier with the result.

If you still haven't made your own Lemon Meringue Pie, I urge you to have a go. Here is the recipe:

Lemon Meringue Pie
from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup butter
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup 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 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.


Shawnda said...

You're lemon meringue pie looks great - congrats on a successful challenge!

Hannah said...

Your meringue browned perfectly- It looks just gorgeous! Nice work on this challenge!

Eva said...

Your pie looks wonderful! I had to cut mine too early which wasn't such a good idea... Glad to have you back!

Bellini Valli said...

Tasmania!!! Sounds like you are having a well deserved break, first with your family and then with Q. Great job with the lemon meringue pie. I managed to make mine as well...and no...I didn't leave it till the last minute this time. We rose to the challenge and conquered!

Megan said...

Wow, nice vacation! And a lovely pie to boot.

KJ said...

Your pie looks lovely. I'm glad it gave so much enjoyment.

FoodieFroggy said...

Beautiful pie !It is funny that you had to post it from an Internet Café !

tigerfish said...

I totally adore Tasmania. Was there for my honeymoon years ago. Did the whole "apple" circle around Tasmania. Fun!

Lydia said...

It's always a challenge to cook in someone else's kitchen, especially in a hot and humid climate. I think you did very well!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Great job on your challenge!

Half Baked said...

Your LMP looks just lovely! Great job on the challenge.

ostwestwind said...

Your pie looks great!

My mistake to convert to recipe to metric ends up in a wobbly filling...

Big Boys Oven said...

Nora, yours look so perfectly gorgeous..... i did some tarlets!

Deborah said...

I'm impressed at how good your meringue looks despite the humid weather!! Wonderful job!

Anonymous said...

wow! looks gorgeous! :)

winedeb said...

You have been the traveling chef lately! Lucky you! I cannot wait to hear about the island!
Lemon meringue pie, all time favorite in our house and yours looks yummy! I love the color on your meringue!
Internet Cafe - what we bloggers go through...

Sheltie Girl said...

Your lemon meringue pie turned out beautifully. I'm sure that it tasted delightful. Thanks for sharing while out traveling.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Aimée said...

Super nice pie, Nora! I am all about lemon flavor and yours looks so bright and yellow!

Nilmandra said...

I sympathise with having to work with (or against??) the weather in Singapore. I don't do very much baking in Singapore myself! Difficult especially with something light and delicate like meringue. Having said that, I'm heading back to Singapore for Chinese New Year very soon and am looking forward to it (ahem, the food) very much!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Nora, I'm very happy to see you posting again :))))

Beautiful Lemon Meringue Pie!

I hope you enjoyed your holidays :)

Have a great evening, Margot

p.s. This monkey lunch bag is actually for my sister... I will see her tomorrow, I'm going to Bristol very early in the morning... and will be back in the night.

Kevin said...

Nice looking lemon meringue pie. I agree this was a really nice desert. If I had made it earlier I may very well have made it a second time as well. :)

The Cooking Ninja said...

Your lemon meringue pie looks fantastic :) I can imagine baking in Singapore weather ... phew! It must be hot. I remember once I decided to cook dinner for my parents ... I was sweating like a pig in the kitchen (it was too hot for me - I wasn't used to Singapore weather after so many years living in Europe).

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Twice as nice! If I make it again I'd turn the temperature down so the meringue doesn't brown too much.

Hope you're having a fantastic holiday!

Gloria said...

Nora, this pie looks wonderful!!!so yummy, Gloria

KayKat said...

Yum! Looks fabulous, especially when working in that humid weather.

It is cold here, but I still ended up with slightly runny curd :)

Toni said...

You are amazing, that you even posted this! And the pie? My mouth is watering!

Molly Loves Paris said...

Good job on the pie and on getting it posted. This time I made the project ahead of time and then I was worried I would forget to post. I once tried to made pavlova in Hong Kong in April. I had no air-conditioning and it was the most unetable thing I've ever made because of the humidity.

Angel said...

Your pie looks great! Thats amazing you did it while vacationing. Truly the heart of a Daring Baker!

Cynthia said...

Sounds like you're having a great time out there. Can't wait for you to tell us more.

Dolores said...

Great job on the January challenge. Attempting lemon meringue in Singapore's sticky humidity this time of year is daring in and of itself. Now go enjoy the oysters and the cherries... we'll be here when you get back. :)

Oh for the love of food! said...

Nora, what a perfect looking Lemon Meringue Pie this is! You're in Tasmania? another holiday? how wonderful! I hope you are well rested and refreshed ;o)

Kelly-Jane said...

Looks lovely - and you baked it twice, a success! :)

bee said...

enjoy tasmania. that's a beautiful pie!!!

DK said...

The meringue luks a stunner! It has browned so well!

Rosa said...

I'm so impressed that you managed to accomplish a Daring Baker challenge while travelling. Lovely pie!

Susan said...

That you have been posting while on holiday is admirable, Nora. Those meringue peaks are perfectly toasted. Very nice.

Can't wait to hear more about your travels when you get home. I've heard great things about Tasmania. Someday we will travel to all the glories down under.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Hi Nora ;)

I went finally to Bristol to see my sister! Marissa was with me.

I nominated new blogs for IFP, please take a look and give your vote.

Have a good day,


Nora B. said...

Dear Ladies and Gents,
Thanks for dropping by and leaving these lovely comments. If I haven't already dropped by your blogs by now to check out your pies (for those DBers), I should be heading over soon.


Claire said...

I did the "standard" pie as well, but would LOVE to try little tarts. Your pie is beautiful and obviously tasted good from the requests for another!