Friday, January 30, 2009

Pie Party Success

The Pie Party last Saturday was a hit! The original intent was to have a pizza party for our friends. We had one last year and it was a blast. My husband makes a lot of pizza dough and continuously turns out neapolitan style pizza with all different toppings. From walnut/carmelized onion/blue cheese to a simple margherita - they were all terrific.

When we found this fun graphic for the evite - we decided to turn it into a true 'pie party' and that I would bake pies to go along with the pizza. So, I made an apple, cherry, lemon meringue, and a chocolate cream. I found that fruit pies in the middle of the winter are not ideal. It might be the negative temps that drive the desire for rich and filling food - or it could be the many miles the fruit needs to go to get to this northern post. Either way, the lemon and the chocolate were the winners in my book.

I didn't pull the camera out fast enough to get pictures of the whole pie - so here are some slices for you. Also, the recipe for the lemon meringue - my favorite!

Lemon Meringue Pie

For shell
One single-crust for 9- to 10-inch pie
raw rice or pie weights for weighting shell

For filling
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

For meringue
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Make shell:On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out dough into a 13-inch round, (about 1/8 inch thick) and fit into a 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate. Trim edge of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp edge decoratively. Prick shell in several places with a fork and chill, covered, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line shell with wax paper and fill with rice or pie weights. Bake shell in middle of oven 10 minutes. Remove paper and rice carefully and bake shell until golden, about 12 minutes more. Cool shell in pie plate on a rack.

Lower oven temperature to 350°F.

Make filling:In a heavy saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt and gradually whisk in water and milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks. Cook milk mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil. Gradually whisk about 1 cup milk mixture into yolks and whisk yolk mixture into milk mixture. Simmer mixture, whisking, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, lemon juice, and zest until butter is melted. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. (prevents skin and keeps heat in.)

Make meringue:In another bowl with an electric mixer beat egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Beat in sugar in a slow stream, beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

TIP: Warm up the filling to get it hot right before pouring into the shell. A hot filling will ensure that the bottom of the meringue is properly cooked!

Pour filling into shell and spread meringue on top, covering filling completely, sealing it to pastry. Draw meringue up into peaks and bake pie in middle of oven until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes.

TIP: Overcooking the meringue (waiting for the deep golden brown?) will make it bead. Stick to the 'light golden' and your meringue will hold up even on humid days.

1 comment:

gail said...

mmmmmmmmmmm! love your site!