Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Little Piece Of Heaven In Every Slice

This pie is very simple and quick to make.

lemon custard pie

I prefer to make a simple meringue instead of a cooked one (I find it fluffier and it’s quicker to make). I often buy pre-made pie dough but when I make my own, I go with this very delicious one. Don’t forget to pre-bake your crust! This important step (called blind baking) will keep your crust flaky instead of soggy.
As for the custard, I wanted to go for a more lemony flavored filling.

Lemon Custard Meringue Pie

8 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
¾ c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
¾ c. sugar (I like my pies on the tart side so I usually reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons)
Zest from one lemon (unsprayed or thoroughly washed)
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
3 large eggs
For the meringue
3 egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
7 tbsp. sugar
One 9 inch pie crust, blind baked
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, warm the butter, lemon juice, sugar, zest and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks.
When the butter has melted and the mixture is warm, gradually pour 3 to 4 spoonfuls of the warm lemon juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. This will warm the eggs gently and prevent them from scrambling. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over low heat, using a whisk, until the filling thickens and begins to resemble soft jelly or pudding (6 to 8 minutes). Do not let it boil.
Remove from heat and pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Bake for 12 minutes. When the pie comes out of the oven, the filling will still be jiggly. It’ll firm up as it cools.
To make the meringue:
Whisk the egg whites, vanilla extract and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Keep on beating, adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Your meringue is ready when it’s shiny, fluffy and firm peaks form when you pull your beaters out (Always stop your mixer before doing this! It may seem like a no-brainer, but one can easily get carried away in a kitchen and end up with a big mess).
Spread the meringue onto the pie custard. It’s ok if the pie is still warm. You can go all fancy and use a pastry bag to lay your meringue in a beautiful pattern, but I just dump it in. To make it pretty, when the meringue is well spread over the pie, I plunge a spoon and quickly pull it out of the meringue, doing this many times to make a simple peaky pattern all over the pie.
Put the pie in a 375 oven to brown the meringue. Or, you may use a Brulee torch like I did.
Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving it. It’s better (and more beautiful) the day it’s made, but you surely won’t say no to a leftover slice the day after.

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