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June 6, 2011 / Kate

Lemon Meringue Pie

Y2, Week Two: I Just Cleaned the Heck Outta My Kitchen Pie

Man, I’m pooped. I mean, I’m very excited, but in a totally exhausted kind of way. To catch you up, I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a local paper (The Wisconsin State Journal) wanting to do a story on me and my blog! Woohoo! Anyways, I was basking in the glory of it all until I realized that they were sending a photographer. To my house. To take pictures. In my kitchen. My kitchen which, because of the near constant baking, usually looks like it’s been hit by a cross between a tornado and a smallish stampede of farm animals. Ok, maybe not that bad, but nowhere near good enough for public viewing.

So to save myself from massive humiliation, I cleaned. I mean really cleaned. As in scrub the refrigerator door, hand wash the floor, and organize the entire pantry and cupboard clean, because heaven only knows what they’ll choose to photograph. Heck, I even scrubbed out the bathroom in case they thought South Central Wisconsin truly needed to know the state of the toilets in the house where the blog is written. Let it not be said I was unprepared.

Did I mention I also had to bake two pies? One for last week’s entry, and one for the newspaper (this week’s pie). So forgive me if this recipe is uncharacteristically traditional, but crazy pie innovation went out the window with all that cleaning (I blame fumes from the Clorox cleaning wipes). It’s based on the lemon meringue my mom made for us when I was a kid, with the lemon turned up to eleven. Yeehaw!

I’ll post the link to the article when it runs. I know you’re dying to read it — all right, I know my dad is dying to read it. I should add that both the reporter and photographer were extremely kind, and professional, and patient, and more than worth the trouble of disinfecting the inside of my trash can for. And now, when you look at the pictures of my Pottery Barn catalog clean kitchen, you’ll know, with certainty, that my unpictured toilets are spotless!

UPDATE: Here’s the link!

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

(adapted from “The New York Times Cookbook”)

Basic Pie Pastry

1 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup very cold water, approx

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds. Sprinkle water slowly over the top of the flour mixture while pulsing mixer. Use only enough water to make the dough stick together when a small amount is squeezed in your hand; be careful not to over mix. Dough will be slightly crumbly. Gently shape dough into disc and wrap tightly in plastic, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to warm slightly (30 min to an hour); make sure no to place dough near oven or anything hot. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into 13-inch circle and transfer to 9-inch pie pan, preferably glass. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim edges of dough to make 1/2-inch overhang (best done with kitchen scissors). Tuck overhanging dough under so that folded edge is flush with rim of pan and edge stand up over the top of the pan. Flute the edges with your fingers. Prick well with fork around bottom and sides. Chill shell until firm, about 1 hour or overnight (cover in plastic wrap if chilling overnight).

Place pie weights in the shell and bake in preheated oven at 450°, for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool before adding filling.

Lemon Filling

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups water
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/8 tsp lemon extract

In a heat safe bowl, beat egg yolks and set aside. Save egg whites for the meringue.

Whisk together sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch in a medium pan then slowly whisk in the water. Cook on medium/high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth (about 5 min).

Gradually add hot mixture to beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and heat on medium low, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon juice, zest and extract. Pour into baked pastry shell and set aside. Do NOT place in the refrigerator.

Meringue

6 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar

Prehead oven to 425°.

Beat egg whites until light and frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

Pile the meringue lightly onto still warm lemon filling, spreading it gently until it touches the edges of the pie shell to prevent shrinking. Use your fingertips to create spiky peaks for decoration if desired.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the meringue is browned. Watch it like a hawk, it can go from brown to black in an instant. Cool and enjoy in your pristine kitchen!

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Michael / Jun 10 2011 7:18 am

    Nice article…and I’m glad to know there’s another person out there making vodka crusts!

    • Kate / Jun 10 2011 2:44 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one either! :-)

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