Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers - lemon meringue pie

It was another sweet month for the Daring Bakers, with this month's host, Jen from Canadian Baker, putting the classic lemon meringue pie on the menu. Lemon meringue pie has long been a favourite in both my and Adam's families, so I knew this recipe would have to be good to inspire us to substitute it in the future for our own recipe. Although this recipe was not challenging as I have made lemon meringue pie many times before, I enjoyed trying a new version and it had some different steps to my tried-and-true recipe.

The first step was to make the pastry. This was a simple sweet pastry and easy to make. I would normally not consider making pastry on a 30-degree day but, as a group of lemon meringue pie lovers were coming for dinner that night, I had no choice. The pastry consisted of cold butter, plain flour, sugar, salt and ice water, all blended in a food processor, then chilled for at least 20 minutes. This is very similar to the sweet pastry recipes I have, and it all came together nicely. It rolled out easily and made a very nice tart base.

The lemon filling was also easy to make. It differed slightly from my recipe in that it used five egg yolks (but it did make a large pie) and also that the method required the sugar and cornflour to be stirred into two cups of boiling water and then cooked over medium heat until very thick, before the egg yolks, butter and lemon juice were added in separate steps. (My original recipe calls for arrowroot to be blended with cold water and then mixed with sugar, lemon juice, eggs and butter and boiled for one minute). This recipe was similar but was made for a larger volume and each ingredient was mixed in separately. Adding the sugar and cornflour to the boiling water meant the mixture had to be carefully watched, as it thickened very quickly and easily turned lumpy (but nothing a whizz with the bamix couldn't fix). I found the filling mixture was a wonderful thick consistency until I added the lemon juice. It then became quite runny and did not set as much as I thought it would or should. When the pie was cut, the filling oozed out rather than cutting into nice slices. At the time, I wondered whether the metric conversions for this recipe were correct but, having since read quite a few comments from fellow DBers, this is apparently a common problem with this recipe. I would add more cornflour next time I made this pie - it called for 1/2 a cup but perhaps 3/4 cup would be better.

The final step was to make the meringue and the result was a magnificent glossy meringue that piled up very high on the tart. The recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar but I cut this down to 1/2 cup and it was still a little sweet, so perhaps even a 1/4 cup would be enough. The meringue looked and tasted wonderful and I had plenty of willing kitchen helpers lining up to lick the bowl clean! The recipe said the pie should be browned in the oven for 10-15 minutes but I found mine was almost too brown after five minutes, so luckily I had kept an eye on it and pulled it out in time.

The final result was delicious and met with a loud chorus of approval. The meringue melted in the mouth, the pastry was sweet and light and the only hiccup was the runny filling but all agreed that it tasted wonderful regardless.

Would I make this recipe again? I'm not sure. I would definitely use the pastry recipe again for other tarts. I did enjoy this lemon meringue pie but I'm not sure it was successful enough to woo me away from my original recipe.


Sheltie Girl said...

I'm so glad the challenge went so well for you.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

DaviMack said...

I think it's possible that the recipe was to prescriptive in many things, among them the whole filling tartness & amount of cornstarch. Some DB's have had theirs set up enough to slice, some have had it runny, and we're all following the same instructions! Yikes!

Glad it turned out to be tasty for you!

Baking Soda said...

I had the same thoughts on the metric, I used the cups and weighed to see where it would get me. (Found some differences).
Like you I was pleasantly surprised by the crust.

Tartelette said...

I love to read about all our experiences. I could leave the crust but that filling was tarty-awesome! I a glad you decided to join the fun!

Deborah said...

It sounds like a success! Great job!

Miss Ifi said...

Oh... so you are a mistress of Lemon Meringue Pie, still as a daring baker you tried a new recipe, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I loved the crust as well and I think in the future I would only make little tartlets without the meringue. I am glad to hear your panel of experts liked it, see you next challenge!

Dolores said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this challenge, especially in comparison to your tried-and-true recipe. I'm glad our version didn't disappoint your discerning tasters!

Jenny said...

I am definitely making the crust again too. :)

MrsPresley said...

i just joined the DB this month, just checking out everyone else’s blogs, wanted to say hello :)