Sunday, January 27, 2008

And it was all yellow - Lemon Meringue Tarts, or, How many times can she type meringe in one post?

"And I, I will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, Iiiiiiiiii will always love-"

Oh, hi! Sorry, I didn't hear you come in. I was just making a mixed tape to send to Jen from The Canadian Baker. What? Why am I making her a mixed tape? Well, when I was in high school sixty years ago a few years back, if you liked someone, you made them a mixed tape. And I am crushing on Jen for introducing me to the best Lemon Meringue recipe I've ever had.

I have never, ever even thought about making Lemon Meringues Pie (LMP), I figured it would be way over my head. But Jen, bless her little Canuck soul, have gifted us with not only an easy LMP recipe, but one that is so delicious too.

You start with crust; never my favorite thing to make, quite frankly. The secrets to making a good crust have always eluded me. But for this recipe since I had elected to make tarts, I pretty much just needed 6 disks of pastry. Even I could manage that (almost)! After I made the dough (in the food processor which was nice) and baked them, I left them to cool and started on the filling. Who knew lemon curd was so simple to make? Once the curd is ready (water, sugar, cornstarch, butter, and egg yolks) you add lemon juice - I juiced my lemons with my juicer - and mix it in along with some lemon zest and vanilla. Give the curd some time to cool, and it's on to the meringue.

I have made meringue before, and had no qualms about leaving out the cream of tartar since I don't have any. It didn't seem to make a difference, which is exactly what I was hoping for. When the meringue was ready and the oven was preheated I put those bad boys together - a huuuuge dollop of curd on crust; then cover the curd with meringue. Into the oven until the meringue is golden brown, and then let them cool before ripping into them with your fork.

I was so excited with my accomplishment that the moment I finished taking these terrible photos, one of the tarts and I got into the car and drove over to my parents house for some early dessert. It was inCREDible. The meringue was great, the curd was totally divine, and even the crust, while not pretty, was delicious! This was by far my most successful and stress free Daring Baker challenge yet!

If you like LMP, try this recipe. If you don't love it, there is possibly something wrong with you.

Thanks Jen!

Lemon Meringue Pie
from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:
3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

To Make 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 1/8 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 1/2 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.

To Make 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.

To Make 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.


Dharm said...

Sara, your pies look lovely and I'm glad you love LMP so much. Unfortunately, there MUST be something wrong with me...!! Well done!

Peabody said...

So glad to hear that you loved the challenge. They look great.

Gretchen Noelle said...

These definitely do not look over your head! They look great! I am sure they turned out just delicious too!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

One of the best things about these challenges is how our incredibly different our experiences can be. Easy for some is a nightmare for others!
Your minis are beautiful!! Well done Sara and I think it's so neat to rush one to your parents!!

Jenny said...

I'm with you - love it, love it, love it!
Can you add a song or two on that mixed tape for Jen from me too please? :-)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Lovely lovely little tarts. Glad these were such a hit with you!

ostwestwind said...

How different the opinions are about the same recipe: I liked the taste, my sons said it was too American ;-)

Karen Baking Soda said...

Ah.. I vowed I never would type meringue any more today...there you go!
Nice job (love the way you jumped in the car to your parents!)

Anonymous said...

I agree, it was a pretty easy recipe...which surprised me. Such a good pie. Your tarts look wonderful.

test it comm said...

The LMP was a great treat! It was not too difficult to make either.

kate said...

so cool that this was your first pie and it came out so well! congrats!


Annie said...

Everyone is making me really pine for lemon meringue pie now! It's everywhere, except on my dessert plate!

mimi said...

your little tarts look so yummy and creamy!

Lis said...

hehehe I can just imagine you all excited when they were done.. they are adorable! Are you going to make them again and in different flavors? I would like to learn how to make a good banana cream pie.. or coconut cream.. oh my..

Love you!

Deborah said...

I love the mixed tape reference. I was just cleaning out a room in my house a little while back and found a stash of mixed tapes. Ahh, the memories...

Your tarts look perfect!

breadchick said...

Sara, as usual my dear, you had me laughing my huge rump off!! Mix tape...snort, snort.

Great job on your little tarts you tart you!!


Anonymous said...

Nice job!

Angel said...

Awesome tarts!!! Congrats on the successful and gorgeous completion of a challenge.

Chris said...

Great job! Your excitement is making me gitty!

jasmine said... know you can't title a post like that and then have me see it...(1x meringe and
13x meringue (incl. title)).

So glad you did well with it :)


Andrea said...

You did a beautiful job on the free form tarts! And it's great that you found a new favorite dessert. :-)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

glad you liked the challenge! your meringue came out lovely!

Cheryl said...

Love the tarts and the plate you have the one on.

Dolores said...

Hey, hey HEY! I remember mix tapes, and it hasn't been six decades since I was in high school (there are just days when it FEELS that way).

One of the best things about this whole Daring Baker thing is discovering new recipes you love. Glad this one worked out well for you!

Helene said...

You always crack me up! I have not meant to be a stranger on your site but lately I keep being booted out...:( Anywhoo, I might squat here for a while now that I can comment!! You did a fantastic job as the minis are just gorgeous!
I am glad you enjoyed the challenge. Yep, you sailed through that one!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Love that you took some straight over to your parents.

I loved this challenge too. It was my first time making meringue and lemon curd and now I think I'm possibly a genius!

Lunch Buckets said...

Does that mean I can call myself normal if like LMP? If so - yay!!!!

Deborah Dowd said...

I am a lemon meringue lover and these little pies look delicious, and I am now craving that tangy-sweet taste!

Terri said...

These look wonderful. I think you did a great job!!!


Mindy said...

They are totally gorgeous- what a couple of pies! (uhh-tarts) Nice- I thought the crust was delish as well- and glad it was so stress-free!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I'm with you in loving LMP! My absolute favorite. This recipe was better than any I had tasted before!

creampuff said...

This is absolutely hilarious! Especially the part about the mixed tape ... ah the memories! Nice tarts, by the way.