Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Lemon Meringue Pie

He, he, he - I am rather excited because I decided to take the plunge and join that merry band, the Daring Bakers, who were kind enough to let me join. Jen from The Canadian Baker is hosting the January challenge, and I was pleased to learn that it was lemon meringue pie, one of my favourite desserts.

The recipe selected by Jen is quite different to the lemon meringue pies that I have made previously. I have made proper lemon curd before, but never using cornflour as a thickening agent, and not using quite as much lemon juice. However, I loved the decidedly lemony tang that the quantity of lemon juice in this recipe added to the curd, giving it a definite "kick" and balancing the sweetness of the wonderful marshmallowy sky-high meringue top - which was my favourite part of this dish!

Having made lemon meringue pie before, I was not concerned about my ability to pull off this challenge. However, it was not all smooth sailing. The first minor hitch was that my tart shell, which rolled out beautifully, decided to bake with a strange high bit on one side:

This didn't concern me too much - once the tart shell was filled, no-one would notice, and it added to the rustic home-made look of it.

The lemon curd filling went beautifully - it thickened up nicely and without a lump in sight, and tasted devinely tangy:

As mentioned above, I was dubious at first about the cornflour and the large quantity of lemon juice (3/4 of a cup), but needn't have worried.

My meringue also fluffed up a dream, and made a wonderful golden high top piled on the lemon curd filling:

Once the pie cooled, the meringue retracted ever so slightly from the edges of the pie, despite my being very careful to make sure that it extended all the way to the edges before baking. I also found when I cut the pie that there was a small amount of liquid between the meringue and the filling. It didn't really make the crust soggy, but it did leave a little damp ring. However, I feel lucky in that my lemon filling stayed set, as a number of other Daring Bakers found that their lemon filling turned out runny.

The taste of this pie was just devine. I first cut it on the evening it was made to share with a couple of friends after the movies, and they liked it. However, when I took the remainder to work the next day, I received delighted approbation from a number of my colleagues. They loved it! In my books, this gives it a big tick, and I would definitely make it again.

Do check out the other wonderful lemon meringue pies from the other Daring Bakers here.

If you would like to try your hand at this pie, the recipe is as follows:

Lemon Meringue Pie

(from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver)

Makes one 25cm pie


3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into 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


2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornflour
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


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 0.3 cm. Cut a circle about 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 cm. Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 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 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.


Peter M said...

You've got some great altitude with your meringue!

This is one of my favourite pies and I'll help myself to another piece.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Peter - please do have another slice - it's delicious!

Megan said...

Your pie looks fabulous. I loved the neringue too!

Tablebread said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! I chickened out this month :( it happens...

You did get some good height on your meringue. I like how you used a tart pan instead of a standard pie dish - that's showing your DB colors :)

FoodieFroggy said...

Wow, your first challenge ? Congrats, it looks wonderful.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Your pie seems to have turned out good.
Mine seems to have turned out like yours too. Not too many problems.
Lets see how the next one tuns out.:)

Chibog in Chief said...

great job you did!! welcome to DBers :-)

Pixie said...

Fabulous! Well done on your first challenge!

Susan said...

Looks beautiful. Congratulations on first challenge down!

Helene said...

Beautiful Job! I love how the meringue turned out! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Deborah said...

Wonderful job on your first challenge! It was a success!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a lovely job on your pie. I'm sure it tasted equally divine. Great job!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Rosie said...

Hi Cakelaw... yippee this is my favourite dessert of all time!!

WOW your lemon meringue pie looks stunning here with depth of layers!! A+++++++++++

Well done I'm bookmarking this recipe :D

Rosie x

Susan @ SGCC said...

Your pie looks great! I love that pretty plate too. Well done!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Megan - the meringue was super, wasn't it!

Hi there Table Bread - I chose this pan so that I could lift the pie out effortlessly - it has one of those great removable bases.

Thanks Anne - though it's not as pretty as your starry pie!

Hi Aparna - it's great to have joined the Daring Bakers with you.

Thanks Dhanggit - it's an honour to be on board.

Thanks Pixie - glad to have joined you as a DB.

Hi Susan - loved your pie. You can teach me how to make bread!

Thanks Helen - the meringue was my favourite part!

Hi Deb - thanks for dropping by!

Thanks Natalie - your gluten free version was a triumph.

Hi Rosie - thanks so much! Do try it - the contrasting flavours are fantastic. (I usually make a very sweet curd which doesn't balance the meringue as well.)

Thanks Susan - I am usually too lazy to get out the pretty cake stand, but in honour of my first DB challenge, I thought that it was worth it.

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

You did a wonderful job on your lemon meringue pie. Welcome to the DBers!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

~Amber~ said...

I had the same "problem" that you did with the filling and meringue. I had a little layer of liquid but I just kind of poured it out and my pie kept its beautiful form and did not get watery or anything.

Your pie looks great!


Thistlemoon said...

Yum - that sure was good wasn't it! Your meringue is monumental!!!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Amber, Thanks! I'm glad that your pie worked out too - it is sooo good.

Thanks Jenn - I loved the meringue top so much that I am going to invent ways to use it again for other pies (along with Anne's starry crust!).

Chibog in Chief said...

great job!! welcome to DB till next challenge!!

Angel said...

Your pie turned out lovely. Congratulations on a successful challenge!!! I particularly love how high and fluffy your meringue is; its just gorgeous.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Angel - I would definitely use the meringue recipe again. (I am thinking caramel/dulche le leche with meringue would be devine.)

Dolores said...

Congratulations on a very successful first challenge, and welcome!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Dolores - much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Daring Bakers! Your pie looks wonderful!

Lunch Buckets said...

Congratulations on your first DB success - looks great!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Ann and Lunch Buckets - I am very proud to be a Daring Baker.

Unknown said...

I had that little ring, too; but it didn't detract from the wonderful taste! Your pie is beautiful. Glad you had success.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for dropping by Claire - glad yours worked out too.