lemon meringue pie

Sunday, August 16

lemon meringue pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

"There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath
the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it. It is the same tantalizing sensation
when you almost remember a name, but don't quite reach it." 

                                                              ~ from The Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950 - 1962
Dear readers, please excuse yet another prolonged absence. The excuses are just that, excuses. I did need to replace bits & bots of an apparently old computer, but those bits & bots have been fixed, yet I still felt (feel) reticent about plunging into blogging again. I love it. I love baking and sharing and, second only to baking, I'm in love with writing. My Achilles heel, my kryptonite, has always been photography. I have a flake of a camera so lately I've resorted to balancing an iPad on top of precariously-stacked books. Once everything is set up, I feel foolish for going to such lengths when I don't have a professional camera..."playing" around on a tricycle while everyone else drives a Rolls-Royce. I tell myself that if I had a fancy camera, all the pieces would fall melodiously into place but, knowing me, I'd still find flaws and wake up at 3:12 am, wondering why I can't make everything perfect. Getting back into food photography might take a while, it's like wearing high heels after a long winter; I'm shaky & awkward, all pointy elbows & knees. Please bear with me, again. xoxo

This marvelous pie has been impatiently seething in a drafts folder for three months. Lemon meringue pie is my mom's favourite dessert (her other fav, depending on her mood, is Boston cream pie). For Mother's Day I managed to bake up this mile-high meringue deity in the span of eight hours; something I do not recommend...unless you want to curse at & wrestle with, sticky pie dough. Still, everything came together deliciously in the end. The filling had the ideal amount of tartness (I loathe lemon & key lime pies that are too sweet), and even though I singed the meringue, it was a perfect fluffed-up, sweet balance to the plucky filling. Oh, how I've missed my beloved lemons!

On one of my vintage, random side-notes, I can't wait to see Tom Hiddleston in I Saw the Light! I am not a country music fan and Hank Williams was just a name I heard floating around from time to time, but I think Tom's ability to breathe life & raw emotion into every role he plays will make this a stellar film. If only I could convince him to sing "hey good lookin' - what ya got cookin?" while I'm preparing a croque-provençal (for two!). Although my heart is still set on hearing him perform Francisco Tárrega's  "Recuerdos de la Alhambra," on guitar, live. *hint* *hint*

lemon meringue pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

lemon meringue pie
filling + meringue adapted from Williams-Sonoma
makes one 9-inch pie

crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) very cold, unsalted butter - cut into chunks
1/2 cup ice water
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

method
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the chunks of cold butter - toss to coat. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into flour mixture until you're left with nubby bits of butter the size of oatmeal flakes and peas. {Note: Don't worry about uniformity, it's better to under-mix.}

In separate small bowl combine ice water with apple cider vinegar.

Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of ice water mixture over flour/butter mixture. Use a bench scraper to mix/cut until water is incorporated into dough. Adding about 1 Tablespoon of ice water mixture at a time, continue to mix/cut until dough just starts to form a ball and holds together when pinched (you probably won't need to use all the ice water/vinegar). Gather the dough into a ball - if necessary, wet your fingers and gently nudge any dry bits of dough into the ball.

Shape the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

On floured surface, roll the chilled disc of dough out into a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Gently place circle into a 9-inch pie plate and trim the edges so there's about a 1-inch overhang. Tuck excess dough under and crimp edges with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Prick the crust a few times with a fork. Spray the shiny side of foil with cooking spray and press foil, spray side down, onto chilled pie crust. Pour baking weights, dried beans or uncooked rice onto foil. Bake crust for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove pie weights + foil. If the crust is puffy in a few areas, use the back of a spoon to gently press back into place. Return uncovered crust to oven and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. {Note; I like my crusts well done and crispy so I let mine bake for about 20 minutes.}

Remove crust from oven and place onto cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the filling.

filling + meringue
8 eggs
grated zest of 3 lemons (make sure they're washed & rinsed. Save lemons for the juice)
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

method
In a medium bowl, whisk 3 eggs till combined. Separate remaining 5 eggs, adding the yolks to the whisked whole eggs & beating to combine. Place the whites into a separate large bowl. Cover the whites and set bowl aside until ready to use (for meringue).

In another separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in beaten eggs, lemon juice and salt. Transfer to a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisking almost constantly over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and let bubble for 30 seconds (bubbles should be languid & slow). Remove thickened filling from heat and whisk in butter until completely melted. Strain mixture through a coarse-mesh strainer (to catch any egg bits). Stir in lemon zest. Press a piece of cling wrap directly onto filling and refrigerate until it reaches room temperature.

Pour filling into baked crust; refrigerate while you prepare the meringue.

Meringue; in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, beat reserved egg whites until soft peaks form. One tablespoon at a time, beat in remaining 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons of sugar, beating until whites develop stiff, shiny peaks.

Spread meringue over filling. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to create swirls & waves (if desired). Use a blow torch to brown meringue. Sadly I don't have a blow torch. I placed the pie onto a large cookie sheet and placed it under my oven's broiler (with the oven rack placed as high as possible), rotating the pan as needed. {Note; don't wander off whilst using the broiler. The meringue burns very easily.}

Refrigerate pie until ready to enjoy.

lemon meringue pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

22 comments:

  1. I too have felt that reticence about blogging...I wonder if there's just something in air right now. I also wholeheartedly agree with your dislike of lemon or lime pies that are sickeningly sweet. I like the balance between sweet and tart, leaning ever-so-slightly into the side of tart.

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    1. Maybe there has been a subtle shift in the cosmos, causing some of us to take a step back, breathe, and regain some perspective. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone on this. :)

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  2. Welcome back! I think we've forgive you for your absence since you brought pie ;). And oh, what a pie! I applaud you for making this in only 8 hours…3 days is more like it for me!

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    1. Laura, this was record for me! I wanted to surprise my mom and, as usual, I waited until the last minute to finally decide to attempt an 8-hour pieathon. :D

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  3. I know how you feel! Photography is also my Achilles heel and it stresses me to the highest point. Nowadays, I am blocked and get a panic attack just at the thought of taking pictures....

    Anyway, welcome back. It is always a pleasure to read you and admire your lovely pictures.

    This is one of my favorite pies.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Wow! Your photos are nothing short of stunning, Rosa. I'm surprised (and comforted) to hear that you struggle with this tricky aspect of blogging, too. Yes. Yes, to the those mini panic attacks! It's too bad we don't live close to each other, we could imbibe & commiserate over our "woes." :D

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  4. Welcome back! It's always a pleasure to see/read what drops into my inbox and it feels like a gift no matter how infrequent! If photography is your Achilles Heel, do a victory dance...your images are always gorgeously tempting. Thanks for plunging in again...glad to see you in my inbox.
    ~Kelly

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! Feedback like this makes my day & eases my overthinking mind. I drink it up like a water-deprived fish. xoxo

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  5. Fancy equipment does not make a good photographer....

    Your photos are stunning and convey the deliciousness of each of your recipes.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I'm happy-blushing. :-)

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  6. What a joy to read a new post from you! I've been missing you desperately, and I wish you weren't so hard on yourself. I have to admit that I'm the queen of the imperfect photo, but I'm always enchanted by yours and think they're perfect. Don't stray away again, please!

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    1. I'm going to sloowly ease my way back into a blogging state of mind, so posts may be few & far between for a while. Thank you for the sweet pep talk! :-)

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  7. Welcome back - we missed your posts! This is a stunning pie and lovely photos.

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  8. Oh, I was so excited to see this post in my Bloglovin' feed, Valerie! I adore your posts, and always look forward to them. These photos are just gorgeous, and yes, photography can be difficult! But even with my DSLR, I always manage to find flaws in my pictures. Yours are invariably stunning. XOXO!

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    1. Aw, thank you Abby! It's soothing to know that even DSLR cameras can be feisty & difficult.

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  9. that pie looks stunning!! love anything with meringue right now, so it's a perfect recipe for us :) <3

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  10. Your photography has always amazed me... you would NEVER know that you don't have a super fancy expensive camera. Seriously. Oh and you were missed!

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  11. Your blog is such a pleasure to read and your photos make me want to reach into my computer. I am literally drooling onto my keyboard whilst my co-workers give me looks of disgust. So pleased to have found you!

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    1. Thank you, Ruby! That's exactly the kind of reaction I strive for. :D

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Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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