MangiaMore: LEMON Meringue pie

RER 3.2011
Sometimes the tongue has a hankering for something tangy, sweet, light and crunchy all at the same time. There are many many many delicious things that fulfill those specific requirements. But my favorite happens to be a good ol' lemon meringue pie. The tart tang of the lemon curd that marries so nicely with the fluffy cloud-like sweet meringue, is enough for me. Lemon meringue pie was created some sort of genius, a master of the tart and sweet. And I revere this maestro every time I take a bite of lemon meringue pie.

For this, we look to another food genius, Alton Brown, for his recipe of this comfort food all time favorite. Check out Alton's recipe, and I will show the essentials...

You can make your own with these recipes from Simply Recipes or even this tutorial from Smitten Kitchen.  I tend to use premade pie dough, like Pilsbury. Alton's recipe calls for a prebaked shell, so you must cook it according to the directions that accompany the recipe of your choosing.

Lemon Filling
4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

This part requires heating up the cornstarch, sugar, water and salt, and whisking until its combined. Then bring this mixture to a boil but just for a minute. While this is happening, whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl. Once the hot mixture has boiled, add little bits of this to the bowl with the egg yolks. When half of the cornstarch mixture is in with the eggs, return this new mixture to the pot, turn to low, and cook, stirring constantly for just a minute to cook the eggs. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring it all together. This is the lemon curd, which then you add to your already baked pie shell. Make sure to do it while it is still hot.
RER 3.2011
4 egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar

In your bowl mix the whites and the cream of tartar with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, until soft peaks form. Then add in the sugar gradually, while beating the mixture. It is time to stop when stiffer peaks are created.

Spread the meringue on top of the warm lemon mixture that has already settled nicely into the baked pie crust. Make sure to spread the egg white mixture all the way to the crust, because if not, it will separate from the crust as the meringue shrinks with baking.

Bake your assembled pie in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Your meringue should get golden brown and toasty.

Now for the hard part.... waiting. The pie really should be all the way cool before slicing, otherwise it gets really messy.

And the best part... ENJOY!!
RER 3.2011

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