Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

Well, today I baked a lemon Meringue Pie.   I have been eyeing a pretty picture and recipe from "The Vegetarian Cookbook" by Nicola Graimes for a while now and decided it was time to take the plunge.  I am a disaster with pie crust and usually opt for a Pillsbury refrigerated crust.   After mulling it over though, I thought what the heck -  if I screw it up too bad, there’s a Pillsbury in the fridge.   So, here we go:

Sweet Pastry Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold
1 large egg

Cut butter into small pieces and place in food processor.  Add the egg and pulse until mixed. 

Add sugar and pulse until light and fluffy.   Add flour mixture all at once and pulse just until it forms small crumbs. 

Dump the crumbs on to plastic wrap and pull the sides and ends together to press the crumbs into a disc.  

Wrap the disc up tightly and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the desired size.  To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry.  The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.

When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll.  Unroll onto top of tart pan.  Gently lay in pan and lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan.  Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry.  With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan.  Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes).  Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten before baking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven. 

Line unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper.  Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. 

Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly golden brown.  Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling.

While the crust is cooling let's get started on the filling - and last but not least, the meringue top!

Lemon Filling

3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
1 cup cold water
2/3 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks  
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced


3 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. Golden granulated sugar

While the crust is cooling divide the 3 eggs.   The yolks will be used in the filling and the whites will be used later in the Meringue.

 Zest the lemons and then squeeze out the juice. 

Put the cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest and water in a pan and mix thoroughly.  Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.   Reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 1 minute, still stirring until smooth and glossy.  Remove from the heat.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then beat in the butter.   Set the pan aside to cool for about 30 minutes.  

 When no longer hot, pour the mixture into the pastry shell.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer until thick and soft peaks form.   Gradually add the sugar, whisking well after each addition.   The mixture should be glossy and firm. 

Spoon the meringue over the filling to cover it completely and make a seal with the pastry shell.  Swirl the meringue into peaks and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the meringue is crisp and pale gold (the center should still be soft).  Let cool before serving.

 Just a note, this cookbook is big and beautiful, with lots of pictures.  I bought it years ago, but found it is still available through Amazon.   click:  Vegetarian Cookbook

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