Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie - When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie!

        So I'm sitting at my desk and out of nowhere one of the guys in the office comes up and asks me if I want lemons. "Huh?" I ask with a puzzled look, apparantly his lemon tree was just going crazy with lemons so he brought some in to offload on to us. "What the heck am I going to do with lemons?" I think out loud, "I don't know, I'm sure you'll think of something" he says, "Lemon Meringue!!" I suddenly exclaim. I've not really had many lemon meringue tarts/pies before and never made one myself and have always been keen on making one so why not.
        I was meant to make this on Tuesday night when I got the lemons but felt lazy and it was Di's birthday too so I went to deliver her some cupcakes instead. Ended up slaving away in the kitchen last night until 10:30 making this and took it to work today. Yes it was my birthday but no I didn't have the intention of bringing in my own birthday cake. I actually didn't tell anyone in the office that it was my birthday, only a few people knew.

        So I go home and google "lemon meringue" which comes back with a few recipe results, Gourmet Traveller seems to have a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie so I check it out and love the sound of it so choose to go with it. Also it seems quite easy for mid week baking. The recipe says that it's a cross between a lemon meringue tart and a lemon meringue pie, I didn't even know there was a difference between the two. I find myself slightly tweaking the recipe a tiny tiny bit such as using 4 lemons (I was given 4 and they're a little smaller than average and I added a bit more sugar to counteract the extra tartness).

Lemon Meringue filling completely mixed through.

        I also added a few sprinkles of cinnamon to the pastry though you can't really taste it, perhaps a bit more next time.

        I made sure I rested the pastry well to avoid the shrinking like what happened when I made my chocolate tarts using the recipe from MasterChef.

        So the pastry is blind baked and the filled with the lemon curd/custard then stuck in the fridge again while I work on the meringue part.

        The recipe calls for italian meringue which I havn't worked with before. I was actually quite impressed with the texture and glossiness of the meringue once I finished beating. (Italian meringue is pretty much egg whites beaten with a hot sugar syrup instead of straight sugar). Oh and I only used the 3 egg whites left from the filling as I didn't want to crack an extra egg and have a spare yolk.

        I totally underestimated the meringue thinking there was more than enough to cover the tart. I started piping quite neat and high peaks around the edge which were also quite close together then realised that once I did one circle I was already getting low on meringue. I spread the middle peaks out more and didn't pipe them as high and was a bit rough so it's not quite as neat as the outer circle. 

 I was so gobsmacked with how glossy the meringue was.
        I didn't have access to a blow torch so entrusted my pie under the flames of our grill. We've had a replacement stove and I hadn't really tried grilling anything like this under it yet so was a bit apprehensive about it. I first stuck it under a low-medium flame but found that it was taking a while to toast and was scared the heat would just melt my filling so I blasted it on high which started browning the meringue faster. I kept a very close eye on the meringue to make sure that it didn't burn. After a couple of rotations this is what I pulled out. I was impressed! Hadn't done anything like this before and it looked absolutely gorgeous! Even with the messily piped meringue in the middle.

       One of the other department co-ordinators came to see me about something and to wish me a happy birthday. When I told her I had baked and brought in a lemon meringue pie for morning tea for our office area she asked why I had baked my own cake. I told her that no one knew it was my birthday which then led her to walk down the hallway announcing to everyone that it was. Then I got bagged out for bringing in my own birthday cake! Though when everyone had a taste of it there was alot of moaning around the room and people wanting to take me home and cook for them.
        This was actually breakfast for me as there was also morning tea organised for my birthday and one of the other managers too, it was a pretty looking carrot cake but was so dry. I think this lemon meringue pie was definately the highlight of my day =D. And Ryan agrees too, I sent him a photo last night to his phone and he told me he was mighty impressed with it during our call at lunch. When I offered him the leftovers afterwork to take to his work he just took one look at it and pretty much snatched it off the passenger seat. Just spoke to him during his dinner break and he informed me that it went down really well at his work too. It wasn't too tangy at all and the balance between the tartness of the lemon filling and the sweetness of the meringue and the pastry was just right. Mmm could actually do with a slice of it right now.


Richard Elliot said...

Looks great and with fresh lemons too! The perfect use for them.

john@heneedsfood said...

As much as I love a lemon meringue pie, I've never actually made one. This one you've made looks beautiful!

chocolatesuze said...

oooh your meringue looks perfect! those dollops look so cute and you did well without a blowtorch! and happy birthday again!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Happy birthday! Great looking cake. I wouldn't mind a slice of it now as well :)

Betty @ The Hungry Girl said...

This looks gorgeous! Happy Birthday! :D

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Happy Birthday and great job with the meringue topping! It can be quite tricky but you pulled it off perfectly :)

Jen said...

Happy birthday again! You did a good job with toasting the meringue in the grill! Looks so pretty :)

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Richard: Thanks! Hehe, people were amazed that I could associate lemons with lemon meringue pie - guess my mind is very food orientated.

Hi John: Thanks! It was actually not that hard to make.

Hi Suze: Thanks! Hehe yeah, the dollops do look quite cute hey? Hehe.

Hi Penny: Thanks! =)

Hi Betty: Thanks! =)

Hi Lorraine: Thanks! =) I kept thinking to myself how messy it was, no one seemed to have noticed =D

Hi Jen: Thanks! =) Just had to constantly keep an eye on that grill to avoid burning!