Lemon Meringue Pie

Hello readers! Sorry it’s been awhile…life and work just keep getting in the way…but bakes have been coming out of the kitchen. I thought I’d talk lemon meringue today. Pies aren’t my thing, as I’ve mentioned in this blog before, because I struggle with making that perfect, flaky pie crust that stands up to the moisture of pie filling. I consistently practice, but just haven’t found the right pie crust for me. The struggle is real.

I made my first lemon meringue pie recently and it went, okaaaay. Right out of the oven I thought, “man, I nailed this”! As the pie cooled, I thought, “hmm, something didn’t come out quite right.”

After loads of research, I realized that I allowed the filling to cool for too long before I topped it with the meringue. It’s imperative that you have the meringue ready to top the piping hot filling with because the steam travels up and cooks the bottom layer of meringue. Without this, the heat from the oven will heat up the filling and trap steam in between the filling and meringue resulting in a watery layer that will eventually cause everything to separate and become runny. Yuck.

My meringue came out beautifully and so I do recommend following this recipe below, but time things carefully to ensure that you don’t make my mistake with the filling. Remember, PIPING HOT!

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Meringue

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Gradually add 3 tablespoons cold water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
  2. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Bake at 425ยฐ for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. For filling, in a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in butter and lemon peel. Gradually stir in lemon juice just until combined. Pour into the crust.
  5. For meringue, in a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is clear. Transfer to a bowl; cool.
  6. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in cornstarch mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. (HINT: multi-task if you have a stand mixer and have your meringue whipping up while you are still stirring your pie filling in the sauce pan!)
  7. Bake at 350ยฐ for 25 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Easy Key Lime Pie

I have come to a very dangerous realization. Key Lime Pie is insanely easy to make. I’m not sure I wanted to know this. Now that I do, I fear that I will be making it ALL the time. It’s pretty much my favorite dessert of all time and last year, my husband and I trekked to Key West, FL for one of the greatest vacations we’ve ever been on (and we’ve been to quite a few places!) and I tried some of the world’s best. I have to say, this versions kicks some serious a$$.

KEY LIME PIE
(courtesy of Ann Richardson, Allrecipes)

Ingredientsย 

– 9 inch graham cracker crust (make your own, or store bought)
– 3 cups (16 oz) sweetened condensed milk
– 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
– 3/4 cup key lime juice (if you are using key limes, you’ll need about 20 of those suckers)
– 1 tablespoon grated lime zest (HINT: avoid the pith so you don’t get overly bitter zest)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.

COMBINE condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest in a mixing bowl and blend well.

POUR mix into graham cracker crust.

BAKE for 5-8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of the pie. DO NOT BROWN. Chill pie thoroughly before serving.

GARNISH with whipped cream if desired.

It’s literally that easy. The addition of sour cream gives it a velvety smooth texture and cuts through the sour. MMM. Enjoy!

Apple Crumble (aka French Apple Pie)

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With all the snow blanketing New England, I felt the need for a warm, homey slice of apple pie. New Englanders will tell you that apples are “out of season”, but really, with produce shipped in from all over…you can get great quality apples no matter the time of year and, personally, I think a slightly more tart apple makes for a better pie. All the sugar and spices make it sweet enough as it is.

I still struggle with making a decent pie crust. I can’t seem to get two large enough pie crusts out of Betty Crocker’s two crust recipe…so I usually have to double the two crust recipe to make sure I can get two viable pieces. I mean, really…it’s THREE ingredients. Flour, fat and salt. Why can’t I get it just right?? The struggle is real, folks.

And while a good crust is appreciated, let’s face it. The buttery decadence that is the crumble topping…it’s just too good to pass up.

My Mom gifted me the 8th edition Betty Crocker cookbook years ago when I ventured off to live on my own and it’s a staple in my kitchen. Under the apple pie recipe, she has a couple variations – one being “French Apple Pie”. Really though, we all just call it Apple Crumble. I always wondered though – what is the difference? Apparently, if you compare Dutch Apple Pie to French Apple Pie, it’s really just a matter of sugar. There is less sugar in the crumble for French Apple Pie and in some cases (but not in the Betty Crocker cookbook) you’ll see recipes adding raisins in with the apples. I couldn’t find a link directly to Betty Crocker, but this blogger used the same cookbook I did (though she admits to using frozen pie crust for efficiency) so you can follow the recipe there.ย Fun fact, like the blogger in this link, I too skip peeling the apples. Not only does it save time, but like she indicates, the peels have additional nutrients and there is a lot less waste.

For a little Valentine’s Day inspiration, I used a little Lindzer press heart cookie cutter to stamp out heart shaped pieces of dough and wet the rim of the pie plate to adhere them in place.

Definitely hit the spot on a cold winter’s night. Happy Baking!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I’ve never been a big fan of pecan pie. Mainly because I’m really not a fan of nuts. I’m allergic to walnuts, so I have that excuse, but not much of an excuse for other nuts…I just don’t really lik’em. I went on a quest to find a pecan pie that not only would my family enjoy, but I could enjoy, too. Which means adding chocolate. And booze.

After some Google searching for recipes, I decided to try Paula Deen’s Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe. You can always count on Mrs. P. Deen to come up with something sinfully decadent to make during the holidays.

I took this picture when the pie was fresh out of the oven, but after cooling for a couple hours, it looks surprisingly like the picture of Paul’s pie! The taste was pretty awesome…you got a kick of that bourbon taste and loads of chocolate within each bite. I was thoroughly impressed and finally found a pecan pie I can make from the holidays and enjoy alongside my fam’!