Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lemon Curd Pie with Italian Meringue

I have pneumonia. 
And a sinus infection. 
And bronchitis..... 
I know, right? Who gets this sick that isn't 105 years old? 

So, while lying on my death couch is kind of awesome because I am catching up on some seriously awful T.V. and some much needed blogging, my brain is not really working and the thought of coming up with clever little stories to start each post out with kind of makes me want to cry. 

That was the longest run on sentence EVER.... I blame the infection in my lungs. See what I did there? 

Please excuse my lack of creativity and just focus on how perfect my recipes are and the fact that my pictures are stunning. Thanks. 

While you are focusing on all of my sensational blogging qualities, can someone please call my boyfriend and remind him that deep down under all of the tissues and prescription bottles is actually a pretty girl who normally showers and dresses nice and sometimes even puts on a little mascara. Someone please just remind him that I will be back to pretty soon. Thanks.... again. 

lemon curd pie topped with italian meringue.

For the Crust
1/2 pound butter
3 oz sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2.25 oz eggs
12 oz pastry flour (all purpose is also fine)

For the Lemon Curd
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
7 oz sugar
zest of 2 lemons
5.5 oz lemon juice
2 oz unsalted butter

For the Italian Meringue
4 oz egg whites
8 oz sugar
2 oz light corn syrup
Water as needed

Begin by making the pie dough. Combine the butter and sugar in a kitchen-aid mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth and no clumps of butter. Add the eggs and salt. Mix in the flour. Mix everything until smooth, but do not over mix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until consistency is workable. I was in a hurry and threw mine in the freezer for an hour and it was perfect. Once the dough has rested, place it between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick and large enough to fit in the pie baking dish. Mold the dough int the baking dish. Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie dough and trim off any extra dough. This takes practice.... visit Sur La Table if you are lazy- they have a dough cutting tool that does the same thing. FIll the pie crust with pie weights and bake in a 350 oven until golden brown. About 10 minutes. Set aside.

To make the lemon curd, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and zest. Whisk together and add the lemon juice. Put the mixture in a double boiler (or in a bowl over a put of boiling water) and stir continuously with a spatula until the mixture thickens. This will take 8 minutes or so and the mixture should be able to lay on top of itself. Strain the mixture over butter, let the butter melt, mix gently, and pour into the pre baked pie shell. Let cool completely before topping with meringue. 

While the pie is cooling, prepare the meringue. Dissolve corn syrup, sugar, and a tiny bit of water in a pan. Bring the mixture to 220 degrees (measure with a candy thermometer.) When the sugar reaches 220, begin whisking the egg whites in a kitchen-aid mixer or with a hand mixer. The eggs should begin to start frothing and forming soft peaks. When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees and resembles a thick syrup, remove it from the heat and slowly whisk it into the egg whites. Continue whisking for 8-10 minutes until the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks and the meringue has cooled. 

Spoon the meringue into a piping bag (I use ziplock bags so that I can dispose of them afterwards) and using a large star tip, pipe the meringue on to the top of the lemon curd pie. If you do not have all of the equipment, you can just spoon the meringue on top of the pie, but it will not look as pretty as mine. Using a blow torch, brown the top of the meringue. You can also do this in the oven under the broiler, but I find it makes the meringue turn grey rather than golden.

*note: the lemon curd can be jarred and given as gifts, served with other desserts, on top of ice cream.... seriously whatever. It is amazing by itself. 

I included links to all of the tools that I used to make this..... obviously they are not all necessary or as expensive as my suggestions, but if you want a kitchen as fabulous as mine, it is time to make an investment. (Cheaper versions of the same thing can probably be found, but I made sure to point out all of the ones that I want... and those are pricey.)

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