I finally did it!
I “dared” to ask Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and was invited to be a Daring Baker. So, as far as I am concerned, I have fulfilled the “Daring” part of the title. As for the “Baker” part of it, let me say I completed the challenge. So if baking makes me a baker, then I have qualified for the “Baker” bit of the title. So I am now a Daring Baker as of January, 2008!
D-day has arrived, or maybe I should say DB-Day.
The Daring Bakers is a community of over 400 enthusiastic bakers across the world. A challenge is announced every month, where all members bake following same one recipe and then post about it on the same day of the month. Some amongst us are experts, some are novices (like me) and others are somewhere in between. But what we all have in common is the enthusiasm with which we approach our monthly challenge.
Before you go any further, I will warn you that I am going to bore you all with this post, but I just have get all this down!!
I have been admiring the lovely results of the challenges posted by the Daring Bakers on their blogs. I have long wanted to bake like this some day. When I was sent this month’s challenge by Mary of Alpineberry, it would be an understatement to say I was thrilled.
Once the euphoria died down, however, I started to wonder what I had let myself in for. The only pie I had made before was an apple pie. While it wasn’t a disaster, it wasn’t all that great either. Now, I knew what lemon curd was and I had eaten meringues before and knew how they were made (in theory). Beyond this, I didn’t have a clue as to what a Lemon Meringue Pie looked like. Of course, the internet helped out with pictures and recipes, and also told me all the things that could go wrong and there were quite a few suggestions on how to bake the perfect pie.
By now, I was a Terrified Baker-to-be!!! But I was going to bake that pie. The recipe we were to follow is given below. The pie recipe is courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002, and the tartlet recipe courtesy of Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz, 2003. This recipe makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie.
Lemon Meringue Pie - Daring Baker Challenge January 2008, and My First One!
For the Crust:
- 3/4 cup butter cold , cut into pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar granulated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup ice water
For the Filling:
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar granulated
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 5 egg yolks , beaten
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup lemon juice fresh
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Meringue:
- 5 egg whites , room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar granulated
- 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 u215b 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 xbd inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F)). 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 190C (375F). 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 180C (350F). 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 220C (425F).
- 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.