Monday, April 14, 2014

Good-Bye Lemon Meringue Pie

Last Christmas, you may recall that we had some friends over for a big Christmas dinner. I think it was the night before the dinner that I broke the news that we were moving to my friend, S. He and his family were one of the families that came over for dinner. I thought that telling him before the dinner would make things smoother, given that it seemed like too big of news for it to casually be mentioned over dinner. Also S is a total drama queen. I called him up and told him on the phone, to which he responded, "this isn't the type of news you tell before Christmas - this is Boxing Day news!" Whoops. While at our house for dinner, he said that we would be forgiven for leaving so long as I promised him a lemon meringue pie before we left. Deal.

The only problem is that while we are such close friends, we really don't meet up too often. We live far away. They have a little girl and an older son, and I have K and T. S is in a band and that takes up many of his weekend nights. The list goes on, I'm sure. Luckily, my good friend, B, suggested that the old crew get together for a good-bye party and everyone graciously came to ours for it - thanks, guys!! With T, being out at night is a bit of a struggle. It was so nice to be able to just put him to bed when he started to lose it. It was also nice to have everyone over so we could work our way through our alcohol. Since everyone was coming over, S included, I decided it would be the perfect time to make the pie. I was all excited about it and was hoping he would be so stoked and pleased that I had remembered our deal. He arrived and I told him I made the pie and he had absolutely no recollection of the pie promise. Thanks, S!! That being said, who cares?! Lemon meringue is one of my favorites as well, so it was perfect.

It's such a simple pie, so it was pretty perfect for the occasion - I am at the point where things just need to get done. I started with my standard 3-2-1 pie crust. Mix 210g of flour, a bit of salt and a bit of sugar in a bowl. Chop up 140g of butter and mix it in with yoru fingers until it is all crumbly. Mix in water, roughly 70g, but do it slowly - I never end up needing all 70g. Then form a ball, flatten it a tad, wrap it and refrigerate it for a bit. Roll it out, pop it in a pie pan, and poke with a fork. Then bake it for about 10 minutes at 450F.

With the leftovers, I do what my mom always used to do. Roll them into a square, dot it with butter, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, roll it up, cut into little spirals. Then I bake them with the crust. They end up like delicious little cinnamon sugar cookies.

While the crust is cooling, get to work on the meringue and lemon filling. Before you start anything, get all of the ingredients ready, you have to move fast for this one. For the meringue beat 3 egg whiles, 1/2t vanilla, and 1/4t cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add 6T of sugar and beat until hard peaks form. Set it aside and quickly get the lemon filling made.

Mix 1 1/2c sugar, 3T cornstarch, 3T flour and a dash of salt in a saucepan. Gradually add 1 1/2c hot water while stirring constantly over high heat until it boils. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring the whole time. Remove it from the heat.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat 3 egg yolks. Stir a tiny bit of the above mixutre into the yolks to temper them, then add them to the saucepan. Bring it to a boil again and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat, add 2T of butter and 1/2t of grated lemon rind. Slowly add in 1/3c of lemon juice. Mix it up really well.

Pour it into the pasty shell. Then cover it with the meringue. If it took too long to make the filling, the meringue may have separated. This isn't ideal, but just try to beat the meringue back into shape. Finally, put it in the oven and bake for 12 minutes at 350F. Let the pie cool before cutting or else you will have a soupy mess on your hands.

I'm not sure why I didn't take more photos of the finished pie. In fact, I am pretty sure that I did, but I can't seem to find them on my phone. Perhaps I used Y's phone and forgot? Regardless, rest assured that this is both a beautiful and delicious pie. Most certainly one of my favs.

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