Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Calm Pie; More butter, Less Nutmeg!

Ah, Girl Genius. A webcomic that I follow with some small level of devotion... I'm like an Agatha of the Kitchen.

Made a Lemon Meringue Pie tonight. They are a lot of work. I used (in part) the recipe from "Desserts By the Yard" by Sherry Yard. She's Wolfgang Puck's dessert chef. Wow! In reading through her mini auto-biographies at the beginning of each new section, I'm amazed at how much it has convinced me I do not want to become a chef. Late nights, early mornings, and always running at top speed, timing everything to be just right. Some of it made me tired just reading it!

Lemon Meringue Pie
(no photos, kids, the camera broke!)

Set the oven to 375 degrees.

1 - 9 or 10 inch pre-baked pie shell

filling:
4 cold large eggs +
4 cold large egg yolks
1 Cup white sugar
1 lemon's lemon zest
1 Cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 oz (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 thick slices

1. In a (non-reactive) double boiler, start water heating to boil in the bottom half, and whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and zest, until a single consistency emerges.

2. Put top half over boiling water, being sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan, and whisk for 2-3 minutes, being sure to stir at the sides.

3. Slowly stream in the juices, whisking all the while, for another 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about the consistency of sour cream, and pulls away from the side of the pan.

4. Remove from the heat, and, continuing mixing, add in the pieces of butter, one by one, whisking until they are completely incorporated.

5. Pour into pre-baked shell and set aside.

Meringue
(I'm shamelessly cribbing the meringue recipe from Ms. Yard, its just too yummy)
1 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons water
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Start the egg whites in a stand mixer, beating them on medium.

2. When they get foamy, add in 1 Tbsp of the sugar and the cream of tartar. Once the mixture starts to show a little more resistance, add in the other two tbsp of sugar.

3. In a medium heavy saucepan, mix the water and brown sugar, stirring the whole time, until the mixture boils. Insert a candy thermometer, and when the syrup reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (between thread and soft ball stage), remove it from the heat.

4. By this time, the egg white mixture should be at soft peaks, and you can slowly drizzle the syrup into the pan, on medium speed. Sherry Yard recommends pouring near the sides of the bowl, and avoiding pouring it over the beaters.

5. When all the syrup mixture is in the eggs, turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to high, and let it beat the eggs until thy are stiff, glossy and cool.

Assembly
1. Spoon or pipe the meringue over the filling (I recommend piping, it just seems to work better). Pile the meringue high up, being sure to 'seal' the edges of the pie filling with the crust, using the meringue.

2. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm. (Or, let it cool, and keep it in the fridge for a few days. Not too long, the meringue will get all funny.)

(for a more caramelized looking meringue, use a creme brulee torch after baking.)