Sunday, June 12, 2011

Perfect lemon meringue pie


Remember last time I made lemon meringue pie? It looked good (before slicing anyway) and it tasted good, but the custard didn't set. I was determined to try it again and get it right, so when we had some friends over for dinner last week, I took the opportunity to make lemon meringue pie for dessert. This time I used the crust and meringue recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook with the lemon filling recipe from The New Best Recipe...and the pie came out perfect! The custard was solid enough to cut out slices of pie but still had a great silky texture and bright lemon flavor. And while the old recipe used 6 egg whites and 4 yolks, the new one uses 6 of each, so there are no leftover egg yolks to deal with. Unlike the last one, this recipe is a definite keeper!

Lemon meringue pie
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook and The New Best Recipe
Serves 8

Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tbs) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbs cold vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbs ice watrer

Lemon filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
6 large egg yolks
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbs unsalted butter

Meringue:
6 large egg whites
1/2 tbs cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar

Using a food processor, pulse together flour, butter, shortening, and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-sized lumps of butter (you can also use your fingertips or a pastry blender to mix). Drizzle 3 tbs ice water over mixture and pulse or stir until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough - if it doesn't hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tbs at a time, pulsing or stirring until mixed in. Try not to overwork the dough.

Turn dough out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Use the heel of your hand to smear each portion forward once or twice to distribute the fat. Gather all the dough together into a ball, press into a 5-inch disk, and sprinkle with flour if dough is sticky. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour, or up to 1 day.

After dough has chilled and is firm, roll it out into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp edge decoratively. Refrigerate shell for 30 minutes.

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 deg F. Lightly prick shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake shell for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and reduce oven temperature to 350 deg F.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently. When mixture begins to simmer and turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks two at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice, and then butter. Bring the mixture to a good simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to keep it from forming a skin.

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed just until whites hold soft peaks. Beat in sugar 1 tbs at a time at high speed, and continue beating until meringue holds stiff peaks.

If pie shell has cooled, place it in the oven until just warm. Pour lemon filling into warm shell. Spread meringue on top all the way to the very edge of the pastry, making sure to completely cover the filling. Use a spatula to form peaks in the meringue. Bake until meringue is golden, about 12-15 minutes.

Cool pie on a rack at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours more.

2 comments:

  1. I really want to try this but it looks so complicated...haha

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  2. The photos turned out great -- but the meringue really *was* perfect! Best I've ever tasted!

    But where's the fantastic orzo recipe? Since Zahir simply refuses to eat orzo (my favorite of pastas) the way I usually make it (cold salads), I beg of you, please share it for the sake our our relationship! ;)

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