Friday, September 3, 2010
Lemon Meringue Pie and an Accomplishment
I have always wanted to try making a lemon meringue pie, not because it's my favorite, but because it seems like such an accomplishment to be able to make one. After all, there are so many problems inherent in the process - the meringue weeps, the meringue shrinks, the filling is runny, the pie crust burns or is not flaky enough, etc., etc. To tell the truth, the very idea of trying to make one intimidated me. Until I found a recipe on Anna's Cookie Madness website. It was called Fool-proof Lemon Meringue Pie. Well, with a name like that, my worries were over.
I absolutely love Cookie Madness. She makes the most wonderful recipes and always gives insightful notes and tips that are a big help. She even makes multiple recipes for the same treat and then reviews them all at once so you know exactly which one will suit your purposes and likes. After reading her review on this recipe, I decided to follow it exactly as written with the exception of using her Betty Crocker recipe for the meringue, since she said that it doesn't weep like some others. With the perfect recipe chosen, I set myself to the task.
I will admit that it's not a quick process since there are so many steps - making the pie crust, blind baking it, making the filling, and whipping the meringue. But, it is easy to follow. As Anna directed, I made the meringue before making the filling. As you know, meringue takes quite a while to make. Furthermore, the meringue needs to be put immediately onto the filling while the filling is still hot, so as to prevent weeping later on.
At one point, I was worried that the filling wouldn't set since it seemed very liquidy. But, never fear, as soon as it started to bubble, the filling thickened all at once forming a potful of beautiful, translucent, lemony goodness. I then poured the hot filling all at once into my pre-baked crust, slapped on my pre-made meringue, and popped it in the oven. The meringue turned a lovely shade of light brown and then my pie was done.
I was so pleased. The meringue was still spread nicely over the pie - no shrinking. In addition, it hardly wept at all. But, how did it taste, you ask? Delicious. The filling was set and sliced perfectly. The meringue was fluffy and the pie crust was flaky. My family was thrilled. Even I couldn't stop nibbling at it, which really says something since I've never liked lemon meringue pie before in my life. After this, though, this will definitely be my go-to recipe. It's not just fool-proof, it's a success.
Fool-Proof Lemon Meringue Pie (from Cookie Madness)
1 1/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cold water
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 c. lemon juice
4 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. boiling water
Baked 9-inch pie crust
Meringue (from Betty Crocker):
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
For the meringue:
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat in vanilla.
For the filling:
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in 1/2 c. cold water, lemon zest, and lemon juice, blending thoroughly. Whisk in the egg yolks. Add the butter and whisk in 1 1/2 c. boiling water.
Set pan over medium high heat and stir until mixture boils, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir filling 1 minute more. Pour hot filling into pie crust and top with meringue. Spread meringue to seal it to the edges of the crust to prevent shrinking.
Bake at 350F for 15-20 min. until meringue is light brown. Cool pie for 2 hours. Chill the cooled pie in the refrigerator.