Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lemon Meringue Memories

I was feeling nostalgic as I planned our Easter meal, so I decided to make a couple of pies that my grandmother always made - Chocolate and Lemon Meringue.

I couldn't find her recipe for Lemon Meringue, so I tried to re-create it based on some online research.

I felt sure it would come out well. I mean, look at how pretty it looks. And, my husband and I had a lot of fun making it together. However, once we sliced it for our guests, it was still a bit soupy. Any advice or suggestions are welcome. Here's what we did...

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
juice of two lemons (about 1/2 cup)
zest of 1 lemon
1 9-inch pre-baked pie shell

Whisk egg yolks and set aside. In medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Turn heat on medium, and stirring frequently, bring to a boil. Boil for at least 1 minute. Remove from heat and use it gradually to temper the egg yolks.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn down heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for at least one more minute. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined.

Pour mixture into shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Bake for 12 minutes until meringue is golden.

We cooled the pie on a rack, and then kept in overnight in a pie carrier in the refrigerator. The meringue didn't weep much at all and the flavor was pretty nice, but the filling sure was runny.

To make meringue topping: You can use a meringue powder, but I used the whites from the 4 egg yolks that were used for the filling.  Make sure your bowl if very clean and dry and there are no yolk remnants so as not to interfere with foaming.  Whip egg whites and 1/8 tsp of cream of tarter for each white.  I used a hand-held mixer and whip until stiff peaks form.  Stiff peaks hold their shape and form when the egg white foam is glossy and clings to the bowl.

To prevent weeping from meringues, be careful not to underwhip or overwhip the egg whites.  Also apply the meringue to a lukewarm (neither cold nor hot) filling.

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