Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
"Yesterday" became "One week" very rapidly due to the following:
- Carrying pies to work cuz the boy was on another trip
- Going out Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday for MY BIRTHDAY! YAAY!
Both my families are so thoughtful - my parents took us shopping and gave me a beautiful pair of silpada earrings; his mother took me shopping and gave me muffin-top pans (which would have been Perfect for tartlettes >_<) a puzzle (nearly done!) and a Very Nice Leather Jacket. My inner vegetarian cried, but it fits so well... and she found it on an incredible discount... (It's a several hundred dollar jacket... found at Marshalls for $30. WOW. she is a BARGAIN HUNTER.)
But anyways. Back to lemon meringue pies.
I made the first pie with my own piecrust recipe - an old standby with shortening, vinegar, and an egg. I knew it wouldn't fail and could be prepped in no time, and it saved the day on the first pie. I gave it to someone for his birthday and he seemed to like it - weeping meringue and wet curd and all (it sat around for several hours while we went out and watched the game, then all went back to his place and watched the drunks eat pie and play beer pong. Don't ask.) Despite the EPIC FAIL crust it got rav reviews. One girl said it looked exactly like her mother's; a boy said it was better than his GF's. I forgot to take pictures beforehand, but here is one taken with my crappy blackberry-cam.
Pie #2 I vowed to follow the recipe and make tartelettes. I had a Williams-Sonoma gift card and bought some tart pans. I bought fresh ingredients, juiced lemons, made crust, formed tartelettes in a muffin tin and the tartelette pans, and had plenty left over for an 8" piecrust. I made sure to divide the crust into three parts as I worked it - kept two in the fridge, worked the first and cut out parts, shaped it back into a ball and put it back in the fridge, took out the next chilled piece, and continued.
Baking piecrust just isn't my thing, I suppose - I need more practice! This time they sank a bit in the muffin tins and tart pans. The large piecrust did alright - only a bit fell off the end. I'm wondering if I still just didn't keep things cold enough.
I should have made extra meringue, and wasn't able to make pretty peaks for the "leftover" pie. The tartlettes had theirs piped on with a large star tip and baked up nicely.
Boy and I culled off some of the mini tarts - they just sank too much, or were too brown, or too big... He doesn't like the curd since it is so sour, but in chibi-tart form there's enough meringue and pie crust to counter it.
I then packed everyone up for work the following day. SOMEHOW I fit everyone into my backpack! The pie's meringue (which was leftover from the tartelettes, and therefore wasn't pretty nor swirled) was mooshed a bit, but the tartelettes survived and were devoured. The researchers swarmed when they heard there was lemon meringue pie and begged for more baked goods (I used to bake test wedding cupcakes and bring them in. I think they miss those days.)
I know they greatly appreciated the pie because someone actually washed the pan.
Recipe "modification": Since I was bringing these to work I had to make sure they wouldn't kill anybody. I tested the meringue and baked it a little longer (at ~325ºF) until my thermometer said it was at 160ºF.
I doubt I'll make this piecrust again, nor will I make this meringue recipe again (it was too weepy, and difficult to ensure it gets hot enough to pasteurize. I will find a recipe that uses a stovetop-stabilized meringue). I will need to work on my blind piecrust baking as well. However I now have a love of lemon meringue pie - I don't think I'd ever eaten it before! Huzzah! So thank you for this month's challenge, Jen (of The Canadian Baker)! It was a challenge, that's for certain... Now to prep for February's....