Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lemon Meringue Pie

Another recipe from Rozy at the forums, for this fortnight's Cooks Club Challenge.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
125 gms butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsps water, approx
1/3 cup cornflour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tsps grated lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
30 gms butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 cup castor sugar

Sift flour and icing sugar into basin, rub in butter. Add lemon juice and enough water to mix to a firm dough, cover, refrigerate 30 mins. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface large enough to cover base and sides of pie plate (base measures 20cm. I usually roll pastry a bit thinner cos we dont like thick pastry, but its up to you.) Prick base well with fork. Blind bake in moderately hot oven for 10-15 mins, if you want it a little browner take the paper and weights off and put in oven again for a few minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Blend cornflour and sugar with water, lemon rind and lemon juice in pan, stir until smooth. Stir over heat until mixture starts to thicken at base of pan, remove from heat. Stir until mixture becomes smooth and thick. Return to heat, stir constantly until mixture boils, stir further 1 min. Remove from heat, quickly stir in butter and lightly beaten egg yolks, cool. When cool, spread into pastry case.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually beat in sugar, beat until dissolved. Spread on top of lemon filling in the pastry case, spreading to edge of pie, bake in mod oven about 10 mins or until light golden brown.

I've edited this only slightly, because it was a bit over the place, and because Rozy went back to add the bit about the blind baking. This really does shrink if you don't. In fact, mine shrunk so badly, I had to grab a storebought one while I was out getting nappies. Sure, I could have just bought more lemons, and tried again, but we're going down to Mum's for lunch tomorrow, and I a)won't have time to make an LMP when we get home, and this needed to be done before Monday, and b)wanted to take this with me to share for dessert.

Failed pastry = :(

Plus, I'd never made a shortcrust pastry pie shell before. In fact, I've never made an LMP before either. I have made meringue though. The lemon filling on this was simple to make, and tasted awesome (well, what else was I going to do with the scraped out bowl? Put it straight into the sink? I think not!) - a perfect blend of tart and sweet, leaning on the tart side. But I did something wrong with my meringue. I was whipping my egg whites by hand, and got to the soft peak stage easily enough, even if it did take me half an hour. But since the recipe said nothing about adding the sugar bit by bit, I just dumped the whole lot in, and whisked it through. The recipe said till the sugar was dissolved. Well, that only took me about 2-3 minutes. But I had a liquid then, the consistency of slightly thick pouring cream. I whisked that stuff for another half an hour, it was still glossy, not dry or granular, but all the same I was scared I'd over beaten them, and it was quarter to twelve anyway, so I poured the lot on top of my pie, and set it to baking. It cooked ok, but doesn't look nearly as pretty as everyone else's on the forums, and has nowhere near the height. Also, it seems like it will be nice and crunchy on the edges, but the middle feels a bit squashy to me.

Ah well. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow, and I'll try to post a photo of a single slice then. At least it's only my family, and not anyone I need to try and impress!