Monday, March 26, 2012

My favourite dessert

I love dessert.  It is the reason I learned how to bake.  I can still remember my first batch of cookies - how I didn't measure the flour properly and they just turned into one big cookie.  But I was 7 or 8 and at that age what is better than one giant cookie?
Since that time I have made a lot of cookies and contrary to the title of this post I would be hard pressed to come up with a favourite dessert.  This one would surely make my Top Ten.
Lemon Meringue Pie.  What's not to love?  Lemon-y filling that's not too sweet.  Fluffy as a cloud meringue.  Flaky buttery crust.  Mmmmmm!
I had the good luck of finding some Meyer lemons at the store the other day.  If you can't find these, regular lemons will do. 

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Put dry ingredients into food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Add cold butter chunks and process until its a rough crumbly texture and you can still see bits of butter.  Add egg and vinegar and process just until dough starts to come together.  Shape dough into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for an hour.  
Preheat oven to 400 F.  On lightly floured surface roll out dough until its about a 1/4-inch thick.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with dough.  Tuck in the rough edges and crimp with your fingers.  Line pastry with aluminum foil and weigh down with pie weights, dry beans or rice.  (This is called blind baking.  I have a jar of mixed dry beans in my cupboard that I use for this.  If you are planning on keeping the beans for re-use, make sure you label them!) Bake for 10 min, reduce heat to 375F and bake 15 min. more.  Remove foil and weights and bake 10 min. more, until center of pie shell has dried out.  
Cool completely before filling. 

1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. cold water
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
5 egg yolks, reserve those whites
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Whisk sugar, water and cornstarch in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk in egg yolks and salt and cook over low heat for 5 min., whisking constantly.  Increase heat to medium and, still whisking, cook until filling is glossy and very thick.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice and butter.  Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. 

5 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch ( I don't always add this)
1/3 c. sugar

Turn on your broiler. 
Whip egg whites with cream of tartar and cornstarch until foamy.  While whipping, gradually add sugar. Continue beating until whites hold a stiff peak.  Dollop meringue over lemon filling.  Using upward sweeping motions make pretty little peaks that will get nice and browned.  
Stick whole pie under broiler and watch carefully.  You don't want that meringue to burn!  It should just brown lightly, like the outside of a perfectly toasted marshmallow.  Chill pie or eat right away.  

 Hope you enjoy this pie! xo

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