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Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers- January (and my 1st) Challenge

I have finally joined the Daring Bakers and completed my first challenge. Daring Bakers are a group of bakers who are challenged to make one baked good a month. This month's challenge, Lemon Meringue Pie, was my first challenge. I had never made lemon meringue pie before, let alone eaten one, so this was interesting. I had often wondered how it'd taste like, but never got around to buying one. So when I saw that this was this month's challenge, I was pretty excited. My curiousity will finally be answered...

The recipe (hosted by Jen at The Canadian Baker):

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:
3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 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
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

To Make 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 1/8 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 1/2 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.

To Make 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.

To Make 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.

The recipe was fairly easy to follow. The result was a tad overbaked, but still looked great. I was really impressed with myself :)

The pie itself was ok, but I really liked the crust. Nice and crunchy with a good flavor. Since I had read that the crust will get soggy after several hours, I brushed some egg whites to the dough before baking. I had read about that somewhere so I decided to try it out. Well, the foil ended up sticking to the dough, and when I removed it, it pulled half of the bottom dough with it. Luckily there were some leftover dough, so I rolled some out and placed it on the bottom and baked it a little more. The dough was not flaky like typical pie dough. The fluted design didn't hold its shape, but in turn gave the ol' homemade look. The meringue was a soft and a little gooshy. (Are they supposed to be this way?) And there were a lot of lemon syrup/juice. They were starting to oooze out even before I cut them, so I sucked them up first (not with my mouth! a plastic syringe like thing I got from the pharmacy one day.) Although I cut myself a small slice, they were a bit too much. Probably would of been better as tartlets, being smaller portions. But I'm glad I got a chance to make this, had it not been a challenge, I probably wouldn't of ever gotten around to making this pie and would of forever wondered as I pass one at the store. I'm looking forward to next month's challenge. Hope it's something I've never tried before. Thanks Daring Bakers, this was fun!


Polliwoggy said...

Nice job! Your lemon meringue pie looks great. I've eaten it once or twice, but I've never made it before. I'm supposed to be on the blogroll starting next month. Dave doesn't particularly care for lemony flavors, and I definitely wouldn't be able to go through a whole pie by myself, so I'm almost glad I didn't make it in time for this month. I might make a mini-LMP, though, just for fun.

Tartelette said...

Great job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I love how tall you got the meringue on there!

Miss Ifi said...

Congratulations on your first challenge and welcome to the Daring Bakers!!!
If you want to give it another try to the recipe I highly recommend making tartlets ^_^

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I love how you swirled the meringue into peaks! Majestic!
And I am really enjoying your blog! baking and bicycling, best things in the world.

Deborah said...

Wonderful job on your first challenge! Your meringue looks gorgeous!

Dolores said...

Like you, I've had fun when the challenge was something I'd never made (or tasted) before. Last fall's Bostini come to mind...

Congratulations on a very successful first challenge, and welcome!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a well done first challenge! And welcome to the DB'ers!

Lunch Buckets said...

Your pie looks beautiful! Congratulations on your first DB success :)

Jenny said...

Your pie looks terrific! I love the crust recipe too.

Karen said...

Great job! Lovely meringue and lemon curd.

Mother Bliss said...

Thanks guys for all your comments. I usually don't get too many comments, I know people are reading my blog but just aren't the commenting type I guess. Thanks for all your kind words!