19 May 2010
Every year, the local Kiwanis puts on a pie auction to raise money for scholarships and other kid-related things. And it just so happens that every year, I seem to have some Meyer lemons on hand to make a lemon meringue pie for the auction, and a lemon meringue-less pie for us.
The recipe I use is from an old cookbook that my grandmother was given when she married my grandfather.
She taught me to bake using this cookbook, and, as you can see, it's very well loved!
First the crust: my grandmother always said to be sure and sift all the dry ingredients. And here you can see why. You don't want those lumps of flour mucking up your delicious crust or worse, making gummy clumps in your pie filling!
I used vegetable shortening and butter in the crust - about half and half. The trick to a flaky crust? My grandmother insisted that it was all in the way you use knives.
She swore by cutting the fat into the flour, and I've always done it that way.
You don't want it completely smooth. The crumbly effect from little bits of unmixed fat is what gives you the crisp texture.
You only add enough cold water to hold the dough together well for rolling out. Not too little: that results in too crumbly a crust!
We never had those little pie crust weights, so we always used whatever beans were on hand to keep the crust from bubbling when it's being cooked without the filling. I cook it halfway and then return it to the oven to finish up without the beans, so that the bottom cooks properly. Cream and meringue pies use a pre-baked crust.
Now for the filling. It all starts with butter in a double boiler.
And moves pretty quickly to a creamy yummy filling!
Only egg yolks go into the filling with the other ingredients. The whites go into the meringue. Since my little Bear can't eat whites, I always make one pie with meringue and one without. The whites from the meringue-less pie go toward making a bigger meringue on the auction pie.
Out of the oven, cooling and setting up.
Time for my assistant to take a taste test.
How was it?
I'm still working on making this recipe perfect. I've added a bit of confectioner's sugar and some butter to the crust, and since it's Meyer lemon and I need to put more juice in the filling to make it tart enough, I added another egg yolk to help it set up. It was almost perfect this last time, but I think it may be metamorphosing into a lemon tart. When it does, and I am able to write down exact measures of ingredients, I'll post the recipe for you all to enjoy as well.