This week I'm house-sitting for my brother and sister-in-law. While they're away on vacation I get to hang out in their house and bake in their kitchen which, might I add, is much nicer than what I'm used to. Tonight for dinner we're having New Orleans style "barbecue" shrimp, spicy garlic shrimp, sticky rice, spicy garlic string beans, bloody maries (to be posted later), and...lemon meringue pie. It's not very often that I go all out like this for dinner. To make up for this ridiculous meal I skipped breakfast and lunch and just ate pop-tarts and coffee. I know, real healthy Sarah...
Lemon meringue pie happens to be the only dessert I can always get my boyfriend to eat, along with raspberry thumbprint cookies. Even though he's not health conscious (unlike me, obvi) he is uber-picky. In a strange way he's obsessed with lemon meringue pie, yet he is totally non-discriminating when it comes to where the pie came from...frozen, store-bought, or homemade doesn't really matter to him. But with this version I actually got him to say he liked it BETTER than the Stop and Shop kind he usually buys. I guess that's a score for me. This is the fourth or fifth version I've tried. I finally got smart and started using a sweet tart dough in place of the bland pastry dough crust he never cared for. The lemon curd filling isn't too tart or sweet but contains an inordinate amount of butter which is what sets the consistency (along with egg whites which, in my opinion, lend a less desireable texture...maybe I'll go back to a cornstarch thickened filling next time). I'd never actually made a lemon curd that required me to bake it in the oven, what a strange concept. I think I'll need to make this exact recipe a few more times to get it right. The jury is still out, for me, on which I prefer. When it comes to meringue I'm not a big fan, but I have to say that my idea to add some lemon zest much improved it for me. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, make it special, and bake!!
Lemon Meringue Pie
For the sweet tart/pastry dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tbl (9 tbl) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 large egg
Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. You should see a coarse and grainy texture with pea-sized chunks scattered throughout. In a seperate bowl whisk the egg together with a fork and add it to the food processor. Process in long pulses, about 10 seconds each, until the dough forms clumps and comes together. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.
Butter a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out the chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to a 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Alternatively, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic. Turn the dough into the prepared pie plate, using the paper as an aid. Seal any cracks in the dough, trim the overhang to about 1/2", fold the overhang in, and seal with thumb and index finger. Pierce the dough allover with a fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter one side of a sheet of aluminum foil and fit it, buttered side down, tightly against the pie crust. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Let cool while you prepare the lemon curd.
*Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
For the lemon curd filling:
3 large eggs
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbl milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 tbl salted butter
Add all ingredients, except butter, into a non-reactive pot over medium-low heat. Whisk together and cook until sugar is dissolved. Add in the butter, 1 tbl at a time, melting in each pice before adding the next. Cook, stirring constantly, until a spoon leaves its mark in the curd, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and add to the pie crust. Bake at 375 for another 15-20 minutes, or until the curd is set and the crust is browned.
*Recipe adapted from William Sonoma
For the meringue topping:
5 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
Add all ingredients, except sugar, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until frothy. Slowly add in the sugar, 1 tbl at a time, until it is all incorporated. Beat until stiff peaks form being careful not to overbeat and cause the meringue to seperate. Spread the meringue over the hot pie. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees or until the merinuge is browned. Let cool at room temperature for at least one hour before chilling in the fridge for 4-5 hours.