light as air

light as air

Friday 13 April 2012 • No comments

The holiday is over and its the beginning of a new term and a new chapter. Done with cakes, on to pies! I had too much fun over the break and didn't make out time for this(terrible) but now i'm back.

lemon meringue pie
This is a very popular pie and a good way to start this chapter. I've never made or tasted it before so i was eager to find out what the fuss was about. I started by making the pie crust. Just flour, butter and salt, a bit of water to bring it together then dusted the work surface with flour and rolled it out. The really interesting part was finding out how to blind bake and to partially blind bake. Blind baking is done when a pie will not need baking again while partially blind baking is done when a pie will need baking again. Also discovered baking beans which are little ceramic balls that are poured onto the crust before blind baking to avoid air bubbles in the pastry. For this pie i needed it partially blind baked.

While the crust baked, i mixed the first part of the filling. Loads of egg yolks, tins of condensed milk, lemon juice and zest all in one bowl. The book said to use a glass bowl and a balloon whisk but i used a plastic bowl as it was all i had,  i wonder how much of a difference that made. I poured that in the partially blind baked crust which had been out for a while and baked for about 30 minutes. I left it to cool a bit before putting it in the fridge for several hours. It looked like cold custard.

The most fascinating part of this pie was the meringue topping. There were two methods shown in the book, the simple meringue topping and the italian meringue topping. I chose to do the italian because it was more challenging. They both had the same ingredients but in different quantities and put together differently. For this i beat just egg whites and slowly poured in a sugar syrup i made. Getting the sugar syrup to be just right was tricky but really cool. I put sugar and water in a sauce pan and brought to a boil. As it became syrupy, i dipped a spoon in it and then straight into a glass of cold water. After doing this a couple of times i finally got what i needed. The stage at which i'm able to form a soft ball out of the sugar on the spoon is when its right. This is called the soft ball stage. It got me thinking of how easy it is to make sweets.

I simply poured this on top of the cold pie and made peaks and swirls on top of the meringue. After baking, it had a lovely golden brown top. The top was crispy and the inside was light and fluffy but unfortunately the bottom of the pie was runny and didn't turn out well. It must have been undercooked. Still tasted nice and i'll be attempting it again.

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