Monday, January 28, 2008

100th post and Daring Bakers Challenge!!

I have actually cooked a lot this month but after my New Years post I realized that my next post would be number 100. I couldn't post just a random run of the mill dinner. It needed to be something special. What is more special than a Daring Bakers challenge?? This month was a double whammy for me. The challenge: Lemon Meringue Pie. It was my first time to make my own pie crust and I have never made meringue. Of course this is the beauty of the Daring Bakers and I'm sure I will be saying "I've never....." a lot when posting my challenges. I am going to keep pushing myself to try new things and to become the best baker that I can be! Now enough with the cheese on to the challenge.

The crust came together pretty well. I was excited because I had read how others crust was really crumbly. Once I had rolled the dough to the correct thickness I transferred it to the pie pan and then I realized I had no idea how to properly flute (thanks for the correct word, Amber) the crust. I tried my best to pinch it all the way around and I thought I had done a pretty good job. Then I did the blind baking and it all went to hell. Parts of the crust fell off into the bottom of my oven and the other parts shrunk. It was a sad sad sight. For a brief moment I thought about ditching that crust and trying again but I didn't have enough butter and I didn't want to be up until midnight making the pie. So instead I moved forward.

The rest of the pie was pretty uneventful. I followed the advice of some fellow DBer's and put the meringue over the hot filling rather than the cold filling and it worked out really well. After an hour of cooling I had a little separation from the crust on one side and a few small slits where the meringue was "weeping" but over all it looked good. I would definitely like to try to make this recipe again to see if I have more success with the crust. But I was pretty happy with the over all result.

Don't forget to check out my fellow DBer's to see how the challenge went for them! Thank you Jen for hosting the event!

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.

Pie recipe courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002

Posted by Jen @ The Canadian Baker


  1. Your pie looks great! I'm glad it went well for you!

  2. Jessica you pie looks wonderful. I think it's great that the meringue hides so many sins. I had just the same problem with this crust. Don't think I'll be trying that again.

  3. Looking good! Glad you enjoyed it, well done. Its interesting how we call did such different things.

  4. Yay! Happy 100th! :)

    Your pie is picture perfect! Glad everything went so well for you!


  5. Congratulations on your 100th entry and on a successful DB recipe. You must try the crust again (fluting and all) :), it is sooooo good. Your meringue is beautiful!

  6. Your pie looks great- all citrusy on the green plate even! You are so Daring to make a crust and a meringue for the first time.
    Well done :) & congrats on #100!

  7. Congratulations on your 100th post and on your CHALLENGE!!!, I think that as Daring Bakers we are not supposed to do everything PERFECTLY it is all about learning from our mistakes and move forward so I am glad that you continued with your crust ^_^
    I think I am going to have to make that basil tilapia soon it looks yuummy

  8. It seems like many people had the same problem with their crusts. Congrats on 100 and a great pie!!

  9. Happy 100th post! I forgot to celebrate mine. Jeez. One of the things I love about Daring Bakers is learning about everyone's cooking backgrounds. It's so interesting! Congrats on your first crust and first meringue (even though your crust "went to hell"). I can't tell you how many times that's happened to me! Very nice job! Your presentations is very lovely.

  10. i love how the meringue topping turned out! totally different from all the other pies i saw (with the spikes, piping, etc) - your meringue is so free form and beautiful! :)

    congrats on your 100th post!

  11. Eek, my internet collapsed the first time I tried commenting, so hopefully this isn't duplicated.

    Congrats on your first pie crust! I have a few tips, if you want them.

    It is important to use chilled dough. You can even stick a made pie crust (in the pan) into the freezer before baking.

    When you first put the rolled out dough into the pan, gently lift the sides to make sure the dough is going all the way to the bottom of the pan without stretching. This often cuts down on the sagging while baking.

    As you practice your fluting, you might find a way that will sit more up on the edge of the pan, preventing it from falling.

    Practice makes perfect, and you have a great start.

  12. I had crust problems too - looks like it turned out just fine in the end!

  13. You did a wonderful job on your pie! Congratulations on your 100th post, I'm glad it turned out to be one for the DBers!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  14. Congratulations on your 100th post!

    The LMP was only the third pie I'd made in my life. I had never had to "cut in butter" or make "curd" or "meringue." I am loving the idea of trying so many new things in the kitchen - and having the help of so many experienced bakers.

    Great job on your pie! :0)

  15. This was my first meringue too, and I think yours looks beautiful. We're both one step closer to being able to bake everything!

  16. Great job with January's challenge, and I'm glad you're pleased with the result.

  17. Congrats on your 100th post. Your pie looks great!


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