January’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Jen, Canadian Baker, and she chose the lovely lemon meringue pie. I have to start by saying I’m kicking myself for procrastinating until the last weekend, because I forgot I had my pilates training all weekend. So, I was up at 10:00pm Friday night making parts of lemon meringue pie and was rushing to finish and take pictures Saturday morning. Next month I’m not going to procrastinate!!

My favorite part of the challenge was making the meringue. I piled it on so high, my boys were like, “Whoa mommy, what is that crazy thing?” It was tall, golden brown and beautiful. It was my first experience making it and it turned out very nice.

The crust turned out pretty good and the lemon filling was good too. It was my first time making a homemade lemon filling, it turned out nice and thick and seemed just as it should be! The only thing I noticed, was after about an hour after the pie baked, there was a clear liquid forming under the meringue. It didn’t seem to mess things up though.

All in all, a great challenge. I wish I wouldn’t have procrastinated until the last few days, I would have liked to spend more time on the pics, and tried the free form crusts, but there’s always next month!! Check out the Daring Baker’s Blogroll for other great lemon meringue pies!

Lemon Meringue Pie

(recipe from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)
For the Crust:
3/4 cup cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar

To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.