18 February 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Sour Lemon Meringue Pie

February is a birthday month for us. Daryn turns (gasp!) 41 in the middle of this month, and I don't have to tell you what that means....

Do I?

Because really, it can only mean one thing: CAKE!!!

Or, in this case, PIE!! Because above all else, Daryn is a pie-guy. I rarely bake pies (Christmas and Foodie Tuesdays being the obvious exception), so it only feels right to bake him up some love in honour of the amazing day of his birth.

His favourite flavor by far is lemon meringue, but not just any lemon meringue: my guy prefers his pie a little more sour that sweet (as with his bride, so too with his dessert.) This zinger of a pie is guaranteed to make your taste buds stand up and take notice: it doesn't take 'no' for an answer.

So pucker up, peeps, and get ready to get your sourpuss on. Here we go:



SOUR LEMON MERINGUE PIE
Preparation: 24 hours +  30 minutes | Cooking Time: 75-90 minutes | Serves: 8
  
Ingredients:
Crust (straight from the Tenderflake box - it's the best kind!)
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. (464 g) Tenderflake lard, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • water

Lemon Curd

  • 4 large lemons
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs yolks, beaten (reserve the whites for meringue)

Meringue
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 6-8 tbsp. white sugar (you can adjust the sugar content to your tastes, but we find we like the meringue a little sweeter to offset the sour lemon)
 
Cooking Directions:
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      
  2. In a large mixing bowl. whisk together flour and salt. Cut in Tenderflake lard with a pastry blender (or two knives) until the mixture resembles course oatmeal.
      
  3. In a one-cup measuring cup, combine vinegar and lightly beaten egg. Add enough water to make one full cup. Gradually stir into Tenderflake mixture. (Add only enough liquid to make dough cling together.)
       
  4. Gather into a ball and divide into six (6) roughly equal portions. Wrap any portions not immediately needed in cling wrap, and refrigerate or freeze. Chill the portions you intend to use for 30 minutes in the fridge.
       
  5. Lightly flour a flat, smooth surface (your counter top, or a smooth cutting board.) Roll out each portion to roughly a 10-inch diameter. Transfer dough to a 9" pie plate. Trim, leaving a quarter-inch overhang all the way around, or flute edges. Bake according to your pie recipe (for this pie, pre-bake empty shell at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes).
        
  6. Yields: 6 pie shells (3 double-crust pies)
   
Lemon Curd
  1. 24 hours in advance of baking, thoroughly wash and dry your 4 lemons. Finely grate lemon zest (of all 4) into a medium sized mixing bowl. Cut each lemon in half and carve off the white rind until the fruit segments are visible. Discard the rind.
      
     
  2. Slice lemons as thinly as possible (into two or 3 slices from each half) and add to the bowl of zest. Cover with sugar and salt, and stir to combine. Cover tightly with cling wrap and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
      
  3. When ready to prepare your pie (and you've baked your shell), strain the lemon mixture into a separate bowl using a fine mesh strainer. The idea is to get all the sugar and lemon juice into the bowl, but none of the piths, pulp or seeds.
      
  4. Transfer the lemon mixture to a medium saucepan and begin heating over medium-high heat. In a separate bowl, combine water, cornstarch and flour; whisk until cornstarch/flour is fully dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to lemon mixture and cook, stirring frequently (otherwise it'll clump and you'll be sad and have to start over), until the whole thing comes to a boil and begins to thicken (about 5 minutes.) Stir in butter, and remove from heat.
       
  5. In a third, small bowl (sorry for all the dishes), lightly whisk the egg yolks. To the yolks, slowly add a 1/2 cup of the lemon mixture and gently stir, taking care not the scramble the egg.
      
  6. Whisk egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Bring the whole shebang to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until very thick (another 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Pour mixture into your pre-baked pie crust.
      
Meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (again).
      
     
  2. In a medium glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites (with an electric beater, on medium-high speed) until foamy. Add sugar gradually until firm peaks begin to form. Spread meringue over the pie, taking care to seal the edges at the crust. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to form a "skin" before baking.
      
  3. Bake for 15 minutes if you prefer white meringue; 25-35 minutes if you like it more golden brown (for an extra boost, broil the pie on low for the final 2-3 minutes.) Allow to chill thoroughly and completely before serving (otherwise it will feel like liquid hot magma in your mouth - ouch - and also the curd firmly sets at room temperature.)

Is it a multi-step process that requires full attention to progress through? Yup. Does it take some time to execute? Sure. Maybe more than your average effort? Yes, I would say so.

Is it worth it? ABSOTIVELYPOSILUTELY.

This pie has Daryn's official *Stamp of Approval* which means it's good, people. It's real, real good. You won't be disappointed.

NOTES | KID-FRIENDLY
     
  
Other Foodie Tuesday dessert recipes you might like: