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Friday, 13 February 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie for Kevin, my brother-in-law

Yield:  2   X  9 inch lemon pies
There is nothing more satisfying than a delicious, home-made lemon meringue pie. Today in Metchosin, BC (outside Victoria) it is a dull, chilly, damp day and to cheer everyone up and to thank my brother-in-law for all his help with our technology I have made some pies.
Now, I cannot take credit for this filling recipe as I truly believe there is no sense ‘re-inventing the wheel’. There are so  many delicious lemon pie filling recipes out there that I simply opened one of my favourite cookbooks ‘ Joy of Cooking, (Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker)’ pg. 657 and used their fabulous lemon meringue recipe. 
As is sometimes the case, if you don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe you may have to go out to the grocery store. But today, my sister Marie-Terese doesn’t have enough lemons on her Meyer  lemon tree and I don’t want to venture out into the cold

Marie-Terese's tree with only one lemon left
I couldn't take the last lemon! 
so I am substituting ‘True Lemon’ (a  crystallized lemon essence) to make up for the fresh lemon juice I don’t have (please see pic of this product below).
Here is the lemon filling from ‘Joy of Cooking’ (pg. 657)
in a heavy pot add:
3 cups sugar
12 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
1 cup lemon juice (today I used the juice of 1 1/2 Meyer lemons and made up the remaining 1 cup with cold water and 12 packages (they are very small) of ‘True Lemon’ which is a crystallized lemon essence.
6 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the meringue on top of the pie
3 cups boiling water
4 tbsp. butter  (put this in at the very end)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, cold water and lemon juice in a heavy pot. Turn on the heat to medium, add the beaten egg yolks and bring this mixture to a boil,  stirring constantly. When it comes to the boiling point slowly incorporate the boiling water. Continue to cook until the mixture boils. Remove from the heat and add the butter and allow it to melt. Stir well.
The butter gives the lemon filling a glossy look and a great taste.
Pour the warm lemon filling into 2 baked pie shells. 
Top with meringue and bake in a hot oven for 2-3 minutes to slightly brown the meringue tips.

Ingredients for Pastry.
PASTRY (enough pastry for 4-5 pie shells)

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 lb. shortening
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup ice water
1 tbsp. brown sugar

1.     Mix together flour, salt and brown sugar. Whisk together to remove the lumps.
2.    Cut up shortening into small cubes, return to cooler to keep cold.
3.    Add vinegar and egg to liquid measure cup. Beat with a fork.
4.    Add enough ice cold water to egg/vinegar mixture to make a total of 1 cup of liquid.
5.    Place measured dry ingredients in a large bowl if mixing by hand.
6.    Add shortening and with a knife or a pastry blender start cutting the shortening in to the flour until all the shortening is dime size and mealy.

Miriam's Time Saving Tip♥ If using a stand mixer in pastry making do not multi-task. Stay at the mixer and pulse the machine on and off until the flour and shortening are slightly mixed but not totally combined. There should still be big size chunks of shortening showing and plenty of loose flour. Do not be alarmed at this because if you go too far at this stage you will ruin the pastry.
7.     Add liquid to mixing bowl and with a fork mix liquid in. Do not over mix at this stage or your pastry will be tough. Gently form into a ball with your hand.
8.    Roll dough up into a disc and wrap in parchment paper and then in a clean plastic bag and store in cooler until needed.
Miriam's Time Saving Tip♥ Making this pastry ahead is a great time saver. It keeps well for over a week in the fridge as long as it is wrapped well. After making pies freeze the remaining pastry for use later.
6 eggs whites
1 cup white granulated sugar
beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Add sugar and continue to beat until the meringue has stiff peaks, but do not overheat or the meringue will be lumpy and dry. 

Chef Miriam Borys, B.Ed., MA.
'Cooking Uncovered'

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