Friday, March 25, 2011
A few weeks ago, totally out of the blue, an old friend contacted me with a very exciting proposition. She was planning a quick trip to New York and had magically procured tickets to a taping The Martha Show (!) and was wondering if I was free to join her. It took me about .5 seconds to draft a reply that included many, many yeses, thank yous, and exclamation points. I was more than a little excited to see Martha in person and when we arrived and found out the theme of the show that day was Pies and Tarts, I just about died. Martha's new Pies and Tarts book was about to be released and Martha and her crew spent the whole hour demoing recipes, like coffee cream pie and raspberry rhubarb gallettes, but the best part was when the show generously gave everyone in the audience a copy of the book, along with some other goodies (thanks Martha). On my train ride home, I immediately tore open the book and started dog-earing pages, I dog-eared a lot of pages. Even though the temps today are in the 30's I am hopeful for a Spring and Summer full of raspberry slab pies and lemon poppy-seed curd tarts of tomato basil pies and panna cotta tartlets, and this lemon meringue beauty that I will definitely be making again.
Lemon Meringue Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts
For the Crust (makes 2 crusts)
2 1/2c all purpose flour
1c cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4-1/2c ice water
1t apple cider vinegar
1. Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.
2. Add butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas.
3. Combine the ice water and vinegar in a measuring cup and while pulsing, slowly drizzle the liquid down the feed tube. Pulse until the dough starts to hold together a bit, there should still be visible hunks of butter in the dough
4. Dump the contents of the food processor onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to press the dough together. Separate dough into 2 pieces, form into disks, and chill for at least 30min before rolling.
5. For one pie, remove one dough disk from the fridge and roll out to a 13'' circle. Place the dough in a 9'' pie dish, then fold and crimp the edges to form a decorative rim. Freeze the formed crust for 30min before baking.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the frozen shell with parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 15 min, remove the paper and weights, then bake until the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Filling
1 1/2t finely grated lemon zest plus 1/2c fresh lemon juice (organic or unsprayed if you can swing it)
4 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue topping)
4T unsalted butter, room temp
1. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar, zest and salt. Whisk in the water. Cook over medium hear, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick. About 7 min (2 min after it comes to a boil).
2. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks, then pour the hot cornstarch mixture in a slow steady stream. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes back up to a boil, 1-2 min.
3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, then add butter 1T at a time. Let the custard cool for about 10 min.
4. Pour custard into prepared crust and place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until custard is firm (6 hours or overnight).
5. When you are ready to serve, prepare meringue filling below.
For the Meringue Topping, double for a Mile High topping
4 large egg whites
1/8t cream of tartar
1/4t vanilla extract
1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
2. Gradually add sugar, increase speed to high and whisk until glossy and forms stiff peaks, stir in the vanilla.
3. Spoon meringue onto the surface of the pie until it reaches the crust, then use a spatula to create a swirly, peaked pattern.
4. Gently brown the topping under your broiler, or with one of those fun kitchen torches. Be Careful! It only needs to be under the broiler for about 45 seconds so keep an eye on it the whole time.