Archive | March 2014

Waiting for Spring

I’m all about changing seasons.
Really, I am.
Unfortunately, here in the Midwest, winter seems to last forever. Even if there’s no snow. First it’s cold. Everything turns brown. And we are lucky to have snow covering the ground by Christmas. So by the end of January, most people are sick of the cold and just want Spring to come.
This year it has been cold.
Colder than normal.
Record breaking cold.
Now that we are into March, you can smell the Spring air. The temps are in the 30’s again. It’s practically flip flop weather! (When the 800 feet of snow melts anyway…)
So, in light of Spring, and a family get together, Lemon Meringue Pie has been on my mind.
If you’re anything like me, or just starting out with his whole baking thing, you’re probably thinking “What!?! Lemon meringue pie? Are you nuts? I can to do that.”
But let me tell you. It’s simple.
I promise.
Would I lie to you??

This recipe is an old family favorite and I’ve never had it not turn out (I’ve failed at the meringue a couple times, buts it’s been a whole) So don’t get frustrated, try, try again. I’ve tried other recipes, and they were all horrible. So please take my word when I say, this one is PERFECT.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe from: my Mom (and most likely from her mom, and her mom and her mom… Well, you get the drift)

Basic Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
Very cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or fork until crumbly.
Run your water in your sink until very very cold. The colder the better.
Add a little (1 Tbsp at a time, if you want to measure) cold water and stir with fork until it comes together in a ball and pulls away from edge of bowl.
Less is more here. You can always add more water if it’s still crumbly, but you can’t take it back out. If you happen to add touch water and it’s sticky, add some flour.
When ready, sprinkle some flour on your counter too or pastry mat, and roll crust out until big enough for the pie shell you’re using.
Spray your pie shell with non-stick cooking spray. The carefully place the a pie crust in pan. Cut off the excess if you have and seal the edges with a fork or make another pretty pattern. Be sure to press down the dough in the pan so there’s no major bubbles under it. Stab bottoms of crust a few times to avoid more bubbles when you bake it.
Bake for about 10 minutes or just until you can smell it. (Not a burning smell, preferably)

Set aside.

Pie Filling

8-inch
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup lemon juice

9-inch
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup water
3 egg yolks
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup lemon juice

10-inch
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups water
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup lemon juice

Mix sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. (This happens VERY quickly)
Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Gradually stir half the mixture into the egg yolks. (do this very careful and stirring right away so the eggs don’t cook) Mix the egg mixture back into the saucepan and boil for 1 minute (2 minutes for a 10-inch pie) stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and lemon juice.
Pour into prepared pie crust.

Meringue

8-inch
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

9-inch
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

10-inch
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

In a clean metal or glass bowl (preferably a stand mixer, but could be done with a hand mixer)
Add egg whites and cream of tartar into bowl. Turn mixer medium-high speed. Mix until egg white are foamy.
Slowly start to add the sugar, one tablespoon and a time, letting is mix in before adding the next one.
The mixture will start to thicken and turn very white. Add the vanilla.
Continue mixing until stuff peaks form.
Spread the meringue over the lemon, sealing the edges to the crust.
Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes or until it turns a delicate brown.
Remove from oven, cool on wire rack, away from a draft.
Enjoy!!!

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