Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge for January!

When my wonderful sister was here over Christmas we were reminiscing over the amazing Lemon Meringue Pies that Mom used to make. Turns out my memory was really fuzzy because those pies came out of a box! I can't remember the name of the company and maybe it was just a Canadian thing but regardless I was really craving one now! So to my great surprise and excitement I found out that January's Daring Baker Challenge was...did you guess it? Lemon Meringue Pie!!!!

This month's challenge was
hosted by Jen, Canadian Baker, and I truly can't thank her enough! This pie was amazing in every single way. The crust was firm and strong enough to hold up to a very moist pie (kind of reminded me of shortbread!) but not tough...the lemon curd was sour and sweet both at the same time and the texture was incredible and then the meringue...what can you really say about meringue (do you know anyone who doesn't like meringue?). The only thing I struggled with was the weather this time. It was in the 80's and incredibly humid. I could not for the life of me get my meringue into "stiff" peaks but I could get it thick enough to work with. I truly loved this recipe and T. and the kids loved it as well. I can think of about 10 people who have Lemon Meringue Pie as their favorite that I will be forwarding this incredible recipe to!

I also found that I am not very good at making the pretty fluted edges on the pie but I am sure that will come with practice!

Will I make it again...Oh yes and I can't wait to. Maybe I will make it for myself for my birthday!!! I will be looking for excuses to make this one!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ 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

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For 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 ⅛ 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 ½ 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.

For 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.

For 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.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!



Big Boys Oven said...

Oh you got a lemon meringue pie there, look so slick and chic! so cool! I love it!

Chibog in Chief said...

oh pass me a slice of this!!! your LMP looks absolutely gorgeous!! great job for this month's challenge

Thistlemoon said...

That looks great Judy! I think it will be a perfect Bday present to yourself!

Megan said...

I'm with you. Give me an excuse and I'll make this pie again. Ohh, really, do we need an excuse?

Deborah said...

I actually just read someone's post that doesn't like meringue - I was surprised because I, too, thought everyone liked meringue!! Your pie looks wonderful!

CB said...

Awesome job! Love the squeeezed lemon picture! Hmmm... I wonder if thats why my filling was runny? I used bottled lemon juice.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

My mom always made her lemon meringue pie from a box too. It was challenge enough to get the meringue right! She also made a no bake cheesecake from a box too!

Brilynn said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed the challenge! Well done!

AudreyO said...

I so wished I liked merinque. I am the one always scraping it off. These photos look so yummy.

Elle said...

Isn't it funny how our memories are sometimes not accurate. Your mom may have gotten her lemon meringue pie from a store, but your is clearly homemade and beautiful! Look at that gorgeous meringue!! It really did make a nice pie. Great job.

Annemarie said...

You had fans in the whole family - how wonderful! The slice looks just perfect and makes me want to get back into the kitchen and make another. :)

Miss Ifi said...

*blushes* I don't like meringue...
Your pie looks amazing though, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Helene said...

Right here with you on the humidity but I am very happy to see how gorgeous your lemon meringue pie turned out! Great job!

Nora B. said...

Terrific job with the pie, Judy. It was delicious, wasn't it?

Dolores said...

Great job on January's challenge. It's wonderful you've found a recipe that works so well for you.

Lunch Buckets said...

Lovely! The meringue makes me think of buttercream for some reason. Not that that's a bad thing!

Unknown said...

I loved the crust too, and have been surprised at how many DBers don't appear to like meringue. :)

Sara said...

I like that last picture of all the spent lemons :)
I loved it too!

Anonymous said...

That looks great. Good job.

I have been seeing the daring bakers logo all over the place and I clicked on their site and seen a list of everyone included and who to email to join. I did not see any thing listed though about rules and whatnot. What is the deal?

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Jasmine31 try going to That should take you the membership info!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Judy!