Monday, January 28, 2008

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart

lmp_plate


Another month has come and gone so it's time for another installment of the Daring Baker challenge. Not familiar with the Daring Bakers? Well, we're a group of food bloggers who, once a month, make the exact same recipe and then blog about our experience with the recipe. Whether the experience is good, bad or somewhere in between, I always learn something new. A different baker plays host each month and chooses the recipe for the group to bake. Our hostess Jen of the Canadian Baker chose a classic lemon meringue pie for this month's challenge.

Now, if you're a regular reader of my little blog you may already know how much I adore lemons. With the relatively mild San Francisco climate my backyard tree provides me with meyer lemons all year round. So of course I would be making my lemon meringue pie with meyer lemons.

The crust was quick and easy even without using a food processor. I decided to use a 10-inch tart pan instead of a pie dish. Since my tart had a slimmer profile than a pie, I cut back on the amount of meringue. I think a pie could've handled a lofty, towering cloud of meringue, but I felt my tart only needed a small swirl of meringue.

Some of the bakers had some trouble getting their lemon filling to thicken so I was a bit concerned about making the filling. Even though meyer lemons are sweeter than other lemons, I still used the full amount of sugar in the recipe because I didn't want to mess with the proportions of sugar to eggs to cornstarch to lemon juice. Thankfully I had no problems with my filling at all. In fact, I had the opposite issue. I felt that the filling was a bit too stiff. If I had cut back on the sugar, I think it would've been even stiffer since sugar is considered a liquid ingredient. I could probably cut back a tiny bit on the cornstarch next time and still have nice clean slices that would hold their shape. But that was my only quibble with the recipe. Despite being too stiff, the lemon filling had a nice fresh and tart lemony flavor that went really well the butter crisp crust and sweet fluffy meringue.

I had some dough, filling and meringue left over so I made a couple small tarts. I decided to pipe the meringue tall and pointy. I also dug out my mini blow torch to brown the meringue. I'm no pyromaniac but taking a blow torch to your food is fun. A big thank you to hostess Jen for a fun challenge, to Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for starting this baking group, and to all the Daring Bakers who share, teach, learn, aspire and inspire.

lmp_pointy

Lemon Meringue Pie
From Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, 2002
(Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie)

~I guess mine would be a lemon meringue tart not a 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 inches (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with 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.

lmp_be

80 comments:

Peabody said...

Your spikey meringue is fabulous.

A Cup of Joy said...

Your meringue turned out beautifully! Congratulations! My meringue was named "Boo-meringue"...not cool! Read about it here:http://acupofjoy.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/daring-bakers-challenge/

myriam said...

not that i am surprised... but yours looks just wonderful... divine...perfect! good job!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your filling did seem to come out just perfect! I love the pointy mini tart as well! I am sure the Meyer lemons were just wonderful with this!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your tarts look great! Yes, my filling was also a little too stiff... Well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

Veron said...

I'm with Peabody, that spikey meringue looks awesome. And we know how yummy meyer lemon is ;).

Ann said...

Love the spikes!

Jerry said...

How did it spike up like that? Beeeeautiful!

Rachel said...

I love that meringue!

Madam Chow said...

I used Meyer lemons, too, and I didn't have any problem with the filling - it wasn't too stiff, or too runny. I love the spikes!

Meeta said...

Oh I like the punk lemon pie looks cool! Meye lemons are probably the best way to go for this kind of recipe!

slush said...

I love your punk rocker little pie!!! Wickedly cute! Great job. I bet they tasted fantastic with the meyer lemons too.

Tartelette said...

The tartelette is just gorgeous! I had an inkling you would use Meyer lemons...I bet the pie was outstanding with them!

Annemarie said...

I love you court jester hat of a meringue at the end! I also had towers of the meringue left which I began to eat like marshmallow fluff, but it quickly filled me to the point of sickness no I had to stop.

Karen said...

Yum! Looks good.

Angela from A Spoonful of Sugar said...

Oh, I love the spiky meringue! Just like a pineapple top.

ostwestwind said...

Congrats, you were more lucky than I.

marye said...

Looks fabulous!

bbaking said...

the spikey mini one is sensational! I love it, surely you couldn't eat something so pretty! ;o) hehe

Megan said...

wow, you gor some hight there. Looks wonderful.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I want to take your spikey tart home with me!!!

Kelly said...

Always beautiful pictures. I love the perfectly browned meringue.

Nikki57 said...

The spikey meringue looks adorable!

Quellia said...

Oooh that is so beautiful looking!
I've never had, or even seen, a meyer lemon, so not sure how they compare to regular lemons.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Beautiful pie! I love your little ones too. Very cute!

culinography said...

So THAT'S what perfect filling was supposed to look like! :)

Lesley said...

I love that tartlet, it's so cute.

DaviMack said...

I think, on the stiffness issue, that it's all a matter of how long you cook it, really. If you follow the directions you end up with a true custard, but if you look at it and say, "that's what it used to look like when I had to stir this as a kid" then it'll end up with a softer texture.

Love those spikes!

Baking Soda said...

I really love the nice and even brown crust on the mini-pie! Just gorgeous Mary, I adore spikes!
Now.. I have to find me some Meyer lemons..(in europe?)

Deborah said...

The spikes on your tartlet are wonderful!!

I(dot)J said...

Great job. Looks great!
Iisha

Gabi said...

I love your meringue that looks like a punk hairdo! Spikey and wicked! The pie is lovely too.
xoxo

Dolores said...

One of the many wonderful things about where we're lucky enjoy to live is meyer lemons.

Your punky mini tarts look rather like jesters' caps to me. It's been that kind of Monday. Great job!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

I love your tiny tart with the punk hairdo!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Punk Spikes will be the rage now Mary! I was pleasantly surprised with the curd too.

Katy said...

cute cute cute! both look completely gorgeous!

Melanie said...

Your pictures are amazing!! The spiky, sea-urchin-like (and I mean that as a compliment) tart was my very favorite. I wish mine had turned out half as cute!

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

Ye, I like the little one, looks great. I wasn't too inspired by the time it came to the meringue. Looks great as always.

creampuff said...

Okay. I can't even begin to tell you how jealous I am of your backyard tree. Seriously. You live in San Francisco and you have a lemon tree in your backyard.

That's just not fair.

Your beautiful spikey pie has made me feel better, though.

VeggieGirl said...

Mary, words simply cannot do your lemon meringue tart justice - so magnificently constructed!!

Carla said...

Beautiful!

Mimi said...

The meringue on your tarts and you pie is just gorgeous!

Claire said...

Nice tart and that spikey little meringue is just great! Glad you had such a good result.

Mary said...

Your pie is beautiful! I can't imagine how fabulous it would be to have a lemon tree in the backyard! I thought about doing it with Meyer lemons, but I totally chickened out. Kudos to you!

Andrea said...

I love the little spikey tart! It looks like a jester hat!

Cakelaw said...

Love the mini tart - it's gorgeous.

Beth G. said...

I love your jazzed up meringue!! Great job- BEEEAUTIFUL :)

glamah16 said...

Your so lucky you have a Meyer lemon tree! Beautiful job.

Chris said...

Rock on with the spikes! Love it!

skrockodile said...

Great looking LMP. I did the same thing and made a mini with the extra dough - so fun!

Jenny said...

What a stunning pie! Great job.

Elle said...

That is a truly lovely pie. The meyer lemons are nice, too. Really love the torch work on the spiky tart...too cute.

Aparna said...

Your pie and little tart both look wonderful.
Thanks for the actual invite to join the DB. Proud to be part of this community and looking forward to the next challenge.

Shandy said...

You are such a talented cook! I just love your idea of making a lemon meringue tart and the mini lemon meringue tart is just adorable! I never thought of using my mini torch to brown meringue! Very Pretty =D
Shandy@Pastry Heaven

Miss Ifi said...

Awww... the tarts were just too much fun, too pretty.
I wish I had a lemon tree in my backyard but I don't think it would like the Canadian weather too much.
Congratulations on your challenge!

Big Boys Oven said...

oh those tartlet looks so gorgoeus, especially the one tht looks like a hat!

Inne said...

tart or pie, it looks absolutely delicious Mary. And that spiky little tartlet just look way too cute to eat!

linda said...

Very cool looking tartlet!

Sheltie Girl said...

Your pie looks simply gorgeous. Great job!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Cheryl said...

I love the spike little tart. Looks like a meringue muppet. Awesome job.

ChefSara said...

Your pie looks much prettier than mine did. But I loved this recipe! Great job on the little pie-urchin!

Sakya said...

Beautifull and look so good, congratulations!!

I'm on the list
and I hope to joint for the next Daring baker
Sakya

RecipeGirl said...

Love the spiky meringue pic! The others look delicious too. I'm going to plant two lemon trees this year. I need major access to lemons as I'm a lover of all things lemon!

Lori
http://TheRecipeGirl.blogspot.com

Tanya said...

I love your meringue statue :)

Nan said...

Love the hairdoo on the tart!

Candace said...

That little tart is beyond fabulous!

Barbara said...

I absolutely love the spiky meringue on your tart! Way cool!

Lunch Buckets said...

Just another "me too" diggin' the jester hat meringue!

Dharm said...

what a lovely pie! And that spikey punk hairdo for the tart is superb! Well done !

breadchick said...

I love the "jester hat" topped tarts! How spectacular looking! Great job Mary as usual.

cookworm said...

Such pretty designs with the meringue. I was trying to get mine to be sharp and crownlike the way your little tartlet did, but alas. Yours looks beautiful!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

whoa--i love that spikey little tart! and meyer lemons...mmm.

Jen Yu said...

Wow Mary, your pie is perfection, but that little tart with the spikes is awesome! I love seeing what you come up with :)

Suzana said...

Mary, that's the perfect pie! I love the way your meringue looks soft. And the punkie pie is adorable!

Brilynn said...

I love your little spikey crowned pie, he's so cute!

Hillary said...

You KILLED this challenge! I like yours th best of all the daring bakers lemon meringue pies I've seen so far. I love the combination of lemon and meringue and yours just wins all around.

Bron said...

Super meringue spikes Mary, love love 'em!
Btw I've tagged you!
http://bronmarshall.com/?p=713

srbeack said...

You're so lucky to have a Meyer Lemon tree in your backyard! I've found a farm in Redwood City with a Meyer Lemon orchard and am going to pick some this week.

On another note- I have a question for you. Would you mind emailing me off-blog? Thanks.

eatme_delicious said...

I love that little tart! It's so dramatic and gorgeous.

Lis said...

I can't decide which I like better.. the pretty tart or the adorable tartlet? :)

You always produce such sweet treats, I am envious of your DB skills!

xoxoxo