For whatever reason I've been itchin to make a lemon meringue pie for weeks. Well I finally did it tonight. As usual I did my yummy from scratch crust a la Donna Hay. With all the different steps it dirtied quite a few dished & was a bit time consuming, but the pie really wasn't that hard to make. And I guess when I think about it in comparison to some of my other endeavors it really wasn't all that time consuming.
Of course I wouldn't be me without some kinda drama to go along with whatever I do..have you noticed that by now?? lol I always have some little issue or complication..or maybe I just imagine them because I'm so darn perfection obsessed..I wonder which it is? lol Either way on to my snag..
Are you ready for this??? My meringue is weeping!! Weeping I said!! Yes it is!! How crushed was I to discover I've got a weepy meringue. Geez just rip my heart out why don't ya...ok ok well it's not that bad, but I was pretty upset considering I had NO clue why this is the second time I've made a pie with a meringue & this is the second time it's done that. I piled the meringue up on the pie all high & pretty & put it in the oven to brown on 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes as the recipe instructed, I checked it somewhere between 12-15 minutes & it was lightly brown, but still seemed a bit jiggly, so I left it in a bit longer. Well that's where I went wrong!! I think.. I did a little google search & turned up a few things about "weepy meringue", which can apparently be caused by: overbeating, undesolved sugar, or overbaking. Well maybe I overbeat, but how do I actually know if I overbeat the meringue?? I mean it formed stiff peaks, but it didn't deflate or something..what exactly would the meringue do if it was overbeat..besides weep of course?? Sheesh this stuff is so complicated sometimes!! I suppose I just have a flair for the dramatics tonight & it really isn't that HUGE of a deal. I dunno though, you should have seen all that liquid, I must have seriously overbaked that thing..lol And the crust stuck to the pie plate. I think a combination of me smushing the dough into the pan a little too much & the watery stuff running out of the meringue & down into the crust (insert deep frustrated sigh)
The pie was pretty darn tastey though, the filling was lemony, but not too tart & dispite all it's crying, err I mean weeping the meringue tasted yummy. And the crust - I just LOVE that crust!! It's flakey & lightly sweet, with a flavor quite different from those storebought crusts, it's got a flavor almost like a shortbread instead of a typical piecrust. Maybe that's why I prefer it so much? I do wish it would have come out perfect though. Anyway..I actually though ahead enough to bring the recipe to the computer with me this time, so I can share with you guys. I got the recipe from "DINER The Best of Casual American Cooking" by Diane Rossen Worthington. The book has some history about the diners of America, but mostly it's just features many recipes for many of the typical foods u'd fine on the menu in a diner.
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 prebaked pie crust ( I use Donna Hay's recipe)
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups water
4 egg yolks, well beaten
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
Prepare & bake pie crust as directed & let cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
To prepare filling, in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch & salt and whisk until smooth. Stir in the water, a few drops at a time at first & then more quickly, never adding more water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the yolks, whisking well to combine.
Place saucepan over medium heat & bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over the bottom & edge of the pan. Switch to a whisk occassionally to prevent lumps from forming. When the mixture reaches a boil (7-8 minutes), boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from heat, add butter & gradually stir in lemon juice, only a few drops at a time at first, until incorporated & butter is melted. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour hot filling into the cooled pie crust, then immediately make meringue.
To make meringue, in a large clean bowl, using electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the egg whites for a few seconds to break them up. Add cream of tartar & salt and continue beating until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high & add sugar in a slow, steady stream, stopping occassionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
Spoon about one-fourth of the meringue on top of the hot filling & spread it to meet the crust. Gently place the remaining meringue in the center of the pie and, using the back of a spoon, shape & spread the meringue into peaks. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating a few times to promote even coloring, 12-15 minutes. Transfew to a rack & let cool completely.
Serve at room temperature. Or store uncovered, in refrigerator for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes 1 9-inch pie, servers 6-8