Monday, January 28, 2008

Citrus Love - Part Un (a.k.a. Daring Bakers' Adventure - January)

One of these days, I'll get started on my Daring Bakers Challenge the day after the topic is announced - I mean it! I've only done 2 of these so far, but apparently I live on the edge even when it comes to cooking. Seriously, I'm a last-minute adrenaline junkie - proved unequivocally by the fact that I just finished my DBC about 30 minutes ago!

Lemon Meringue Pie ...

Hmm ... I wasn't sure what I thought of this when I first saw the topic. I love lemons, but most of the lemon desserts I lean towards are a lot lighter - lemon bars, light whipped lemon curd ... and this whole meringue thing sounded a bit daunting. But I got all excited about making tartlets, that's always fun - a bite-sized or one person dessert is usually fun to put together. But then I couldn't find any tartlet pans and today is a heavy snow day ... so that plan was abandoned and I went back to baking a regular pie instead.

Jen of The Canadian Baker picked the recipe for this challenge - the more I read it, the more appetizing it sounded. And a little daunting too! Especially since it has been a while since I baked a pie - many many months, actually!

As I read the recipe more, I started having a few doubts. The pie crust recipe sounded different from the ones I'm used to, but the instructions were really clear, guess I couldn't go wrong with that. The other thing that I was iffy about was the meringue - I'm not a big meringue fan by any means - it just doesn't do much for me. I'd rather top my lemon curd with caramel or some chopped nuts, those flavours appeal a lot more to me.

So, I started my baking in the eleventh hour :) The recipe was really easy to follow, the instructions straightforward. Thanks, Jen for sending this recipe our way!

Jen's only requirement was that the pie remain lemony. I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee, something I almost never do :)


We could make one pie or tartlets (in a tin or free-form)

We could compliment your pie with a sauce.

We could use a piping bag to apply the meringue if you like.

Decoration allowed - lemon zest or fruit are totally acceptable.

Changes are allowed to accommodate for altitude or for health/allergy reasons.

I made just one large pie, I still have some dough leftover that I might work into tartlets later this week. I read several posts about disappointing crusts, so I watched out for that while working the dough. I ended up baking the crust for an extra 3-4 minutes - that seemed to do the trick to avoid a soggy, chewy crust. This one seems reasonably flaky though I might stick with a couple of other crust recipes for future pies.

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

one 10" pie



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


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


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

Making 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.

Making 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.

Making 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.


The pie turned out great! The crust is perfect (I nosh as I type :)), I think letting it cool to room temperature before adding the filling made a huge difference. The pie did get mushy as it sat around, but the crust stayed reasonably crisp. And the meringue turned out great. Still, too much of meringue for me, but as a one-off dessert, I like it :) The lemon filling is fabulous - really rich and decadent, but incredibly satisfying and tangy. And I'm really glad I used Meyer lemons, the sweet-tart flavour is perfect.

Is this going to be a repeat?

The lemon pie definitely is - more likely as tartlets, think I'll skip the meringue next time around. Also, I like my usual pie crust recipes better than this one.

The world of DBC!

There are over 450 daring bakers out there now. Can you imagine how many pounds of lemon meringue pie that equates to?! *wow* Please check out our blogroll - there are so awesome attempts out there.

Many thanks to Jen for this recipe - given how I waited till the last minute to finish this challenge, the recipe was totally on my side all the way! :)


Big Boys Oven said...

Lovely, you did it so well! Gorgeous, so incredible!

Srivalli said...

Looks many running in the blogsphere!..all desserts shout lemon!

Aparna said...

Thats one lovely pie. Looming deadlines don't seem to have affected it at all.

Padmaja said...

Pies pies lemon meringue pies everywhere and hey your look so yum!!

Padmaja said...

Pies pies lemon meringue pies everywhere and hey your look so yum!!

Asha said...

Last minute entry! That looks fabulous, love the last photo!:))

DK said...

your meringue luks AMAZING!

Deborah said...

It looks delicious!

Mishmash ! said...

Its great to see how you guys make each assignment so beautiful....and also share the recipe here....!Great job :)

Ashwini said...

So the rest of us non daring bakers (in my case non baker) have to drool at over 450 pics every month???
Looks great K

Laura Rebecca said...

Your pie looks great! (I baked my LMP at the last minute, too!)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

ah but despite your doubts you pie looks wondrous! i really shouldn't bloghop after dinner, it just makes me want to eat more!

sunita said...

I love your meringue...I too kept procrastinating :-)

Annemarie said...

Well done for tackling your fears - the meringue looks like it turned out just right!

Kribha said...

My My! It looks so good. I've never tried pies before. You are tempting me crazy.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I liked this challenge! I thought tthe lemon curd was great - especially using the meyer lemons!

Kevin said...

Your meringue looks great! It is perfectly golden brown.

Cyndi said...

Yours turned out beautiful. I was also waited until the last minute. I too thought the lemon curd was delicious.

Can't wait for the next Challenge!

Susan said...

Here's to last-minute baking. Glad yours turned out better than mine!

sher said...

Your meringue is perfect. I wanted mine to look like that!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Lovely pie & great write-up. Enjoyed reading it thoroughly. The pictures are great too! What a thought actually...that many DB's making that many LMPs!!! Phew..well done KayKat :0)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great pie! Well done! I'm glad you liked it!



linda said...

Lovely pie, looks perfect! I agree with you, if I would make it again, I'd skip the meringue too.

Liliana said...

Your pie looks amazing!

BC said...

450 x 5 pounds of pie...?

Mandira said...

If you make such delicious desserts for last minute entry, I want to be invited to your house for a party! Fabulous pie Kaykat :)

breadchick said...

Great job on the challenge! I'm going to have to try this meyer lemons now!

Sagari said...

wowwwwww beautifullllllllll

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice pie!

Jen Yu said...

Fantastic job with the challenge and the photos are so deliciously tantalizing! :)

Madam Chow said...

I agree about meringue - I loved the pie, except for the meringue, which I'm not fond of. But my husband's favorite part was the meringue!

creampuff said...

Great job!

Dolores said...

Let's make a pact... for February (March? April?) we'll band together (virtually) and make the challenge recipe within a week of its publication. I'm hoping if I team up with the other procrastinators, there'll be strength in numbers.

My pie? With luck I'll get it posted this weekend. Once I'm sure I won't sneeze in the lemon curd...

Peabody said...

I think one of the rules of being a DBer is to put it off to the last minute. :)
Great job on your pie.

Claire said...

Great job! I love your golden meringue.