Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mile High Lemon Pie

Martha Stewart is the epitome of all things domestic. Therefore, I turned to her when looking to satisfy a lemon pie craving.

Her recipe does not disappoint.

A fabulous pate brisee holds the zesty lemon filling secure underneath mounds of browned meringue; piled high so as to be given the name 'Mile High' Lemon Pie.

Mile High Lemon Pie
Makes 1 9 inch pie

all purpose flour, for dusting

pate brisee (do make this rather than using a store bought crust - you will not regret it)

1 large egg

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon rind

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

7 large egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch, anduse to line a 9 inch pie tin. Crimp the edges decoratively. Chill until firm. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cream to make a glaze. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork, brush the top edges with the glaze, and line with parchment paper. Weight the shell with pie weights or dried beans, and bake until the edges begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights; continue baking until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.

To make filling, combine cornstarch, cake flour, salt, and sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 2 cups cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, about 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat. Temper egg yolks by beating a small amount of hot mixture into the yolks before adding them to pan. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, and whisk in the lemon juice and rind. Add the butter one piece at a time. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and let cool.

Pour the filling into the cooled shell and refrigerate, covered with aluminum foil, until firm, about 1 hour.

To make the meringue, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heat-proof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water; beat until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl from heat; whip into stiff peaks.

Spread the meringue over pie so that it touches crust all around. Broil until brown, about 2 minutes, watching constantly. Serve at room temperature.

Pate Brisee
Makes 1 double crust or 2 single crust 9 to 10 inch pies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

My suggestions?

Absolutely, most definitely blind bake the crust before filling. My pie began to weep after only a few hours in the refrigerator, but the crust remained flakey despite this. If I hadn't pre baked the crust however...it would have certainly turned into a soggy mess.

Put the meringue on the filling while the filling is still hot. This prevents separation of the filling from the meringue and also helps control weeping if you aren't eating the pie immediately.

Allow the meringue to 'seal' the pie by ensuring that the meringue touches the crust all the way around the pie.

I made this, along with an equally sinful Cafe Au Lait Cheesecake, to share with family at two Easter dinners this past April. Sadly, I was forced to press down my beautifully high meringue in order to transport it - and was unable to take a photograph of the completed dessert beforehand.

There is, however, another batch of pate brisee waiting in my freezer...



Hannah said...

I love lemon desserts, so this pie sounds just heavenly. :)

Anonymous said...

Good post, I always like them