Daring Little Tart

It’s that time again! Today Lemon Meringue Pies will be sprouting up all over the blogosphere because that was the Daring Baker Challenge selected for us by our host for the month, Jen of Canadian Baker. It also happens to be one of The Husband’s most favorite pies and I have *never* made one for him until now. That’s right, never.

treacherous seas

The first time around, the crust was a little too thick and a tad underdone, the curd was perfect, and I had a little trouble with the oven temp (again!, argh!) so my meringue peaks were burnt in less than half the suggested baking time. He was scarfing down the last piece from that pie as he looked over my shoulder at the computer while I made disgusted sounds over my photos — taken with the fluorescent light (under the cabinet) on one side and blue/white lights (above the stove) on the other side of the pie, making it a strange sea of greens, browns, and purples. “Mmmmm, yeah, I can see this is a definite do-over. You can’t possibly put those pictures on your blog. Mmmm hmmm, yep. I think you might need to make this every day this month, just to make sure you get a good data set.”

I think I’ve been conned. But one of the suggestions for this challenge was to make free form tarts and I really wanted to try that, so I knew I’d be making it at least one more time. Also, I kept imagining it with my homemade blueberry syrup.

For the mini tarts, rather than bake flat disks as suggested, I cut out shapes and then used a piece of foil under it and folded the corners over the top into the shell as the ‘pan’ and then fluted the edges a little with my fingers. Then I folded another piece of foil and tucked it into the center. I don’t have any pie weights and didn’t have beans on hand so some of them puffed up a little in baking, but it wasn’t bad. I baked them for about 20 minutes and then pulled out the center piece of foil and let it bake for another 5 minutes or so, before removing them to cool.

big, hairy deal

The curd and meringue went together beautifully again and this time I played around with the meringue a little, making the tartlets a little different. The oven was a little cooler this time so they didn’t burn but they gently browned. I plated it with a little blueberry syrup with white chocolate piped on top.

But this one, after I took a few pictures, I decided to try with extra blueberry syrup (with whole blueberries in it) scooped on top. Oh, yeah! That is just soooo good! This probably isn’t something I would make for me, but I can see The Husband requesting it again, and again, and again! Thanks, Jen!


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Recipe after the jump.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For 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 ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (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 ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (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.

For 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.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (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.

Daring Bakers Extra Challenge
Free-Style Lemon Tartlets

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:

To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough, position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF.

Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.

Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks. Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

Additions:

You can make one pie or tartlets (in a tin or free-form)

You can compliment your pie with a sauce. For example, you can serve it with raspberry or white chocolate sauce.

You can use a piping bag to apply the meringue if you like.

Decoration is up to you – lemon zest or fruit are totally acceptable.

Pie recipe courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002
Tartlet recipe courtesy of Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz, 2003

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26 Responses

  1. Good for you for giving it another go. I love the look of the pie with the berries. Wonderful color contrast!

  2. Good for you for giving it another go. I love the look of the pie with the berries. Wonderful color contrast!

  3. Your little pies look good and the one with the blueberry syrup lokks just wonderful.

  4. Very cute little tart! Agreed…I love the blueberries with the colors in this pie. Great contrast!

  5. Ooooh…that looks so good with the berries! I’m drooling over here!

  6. Your tarts look perfects and the blueberries really play up to lovely color of your filling. I bet it tasted wonderful.

  7. Blueberry and lemon always goes wonderfully together! I love the hearts too and your meringue is gorgeous! 🙂

  8. I love the blueberry swirls, and I think that blueberry and lemon is the best combo. (See a tart I made this past summer for proof!)

  9. Love the blueberry idea! I bet they tasted wonderful!

  10. It sounds wonderful with the blueberries – what a great idea! they all look wonderful!

  11. Wow, those blueberries look so nice with the pie! Great job!

  12. Looks great! I love blueberries and lemon… great combo.

  13. Wow, that looks so good! Great ideas. And I love how you swirled the meringue. Looks fabulous!

  14. Ooo … I love the blueberry topping, that’s a great idea!

  15. YUM! The blueberry combo looks fabulous- this is one of my husband’s faves that I had never made also :O) Great job!!

  16. I’m with your husband… good data is critical to effective decision making. And your data looks *great*. Especially the pieces smothered in blueberry… yum!

  17. Your husband sounds a lot like mine! And I’m going to have to make this recipe more often than I would care too, but hey… it’s the little things, eh?
    I did blueberries with my pie too. I thought they were wonderful, complimenting the tartness perfectly.
    Jane of VeganBits.com

  18. LMP with blueberry sauce? You’re my hero! YUM!

  19. The little tarts look so good. I love the berries on top. Great idea!

  20. Mmmm, looks so good!

  21. Lovely little tarts!

  22. Love the decoration with the blueberry syrup!

  23. Thanks for all the kind words! The Husband enjoyed a little tart a day with his lunches.

  24. I love the way you served the pies and plated them! Great job!

  25. Wow, these look so yummy!

  26. Sorry I didn’t make it by sooner to see your lovely lemon meringue tarts.
    Nice job!
    Sorry you’re not feeling well- hope you’re up and baking again soon.
    xoxo

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