Less than lovely Lemon Meringue
Posted: 29 September 2011 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am a pie girl at heart and all the cake I’ve been making lately left me craving lemon meringue. I hadn’t actually made a lemon meringue pie in years (since before I ever even heard of lemon curd). I could never make a decent meringue that wasn’t either weepy, chewy, or some other form of nasty until I recently discovered the joys of Italian Meringue, so I just didn’t try..

For this pie I used Rose’s cream cheese pie crust recipe, and of course Italian Meringue. My food processor could not handle the crust, so I had to incorporate the cream and vinegar by hand. It rolled nicely and wasn’t tough, but I hadn’t made it before and don’t know if it turned out as it should or not. It was nice though. The italian meringue was light and silky and just beautiful.

Since I don’t have the Pie and Pastry Bible, I don’t have Rose’s recipe for the filling and toyed with the idea, but wasn’t sure if her curd recipe from The Cake Bible would set up firm enough for this purpose. I ended up using a filling recipe from the Joy of Baking website, which is also egg based, but that utilizes whole eggs and 1/4 cup more sugar. I was surprised when I filled the crust because the recipe did not fill the crust to the depth I would expect. It made for a shallow filling layer. The directions said to fill the blind baked crust, then bake for 10 minutes or until the filling was set, but the center still wobbly. It did not look set at all at 10 minutes. I took it out at 12. Before baking the filling was velvety smooth, but after being baked and cooled the filling had a very grainy texture. I’m thinking the egg curdled, though the texture wasn’t what I think of when I think curdled egg either. I curdled a custard once and this was different. Not crunchy like undisolved sugar but it was almost a sandy texture. Ideas? I have a thermometer in my oven and made sure the temp had reduced as specified before baking the filling.

Can I double Rose’s curd recipe and use that? If yes, would you follow the same process and bake a bit after filling the crust? Or apply the meringue directly after filling? I don’t have a torch and will use the oven to brown the meringue.

Edit: I should add that although the filling was shallow, we didn’t miss the extra volume taste-wise. It had plenty of big rich lemon flavor

Thanks!

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Posted: 30 September 2011 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t know the details of the recipe you used for the lemon filling, but I can only imagine that some sort of overcooking may have taken place.

You can use lemon curd in a pie crust, yes, but it won’t really be lemon meringue pie, which traditionally has a deeper, cornstarch-thickened filling.  Lemon curd is so intense that when I have used it in a pie, it has been a thinner layer, topped with whipped cream or fruit (blueberries or raspberries) or both. 

You might want to consider getting the Pie/Pastry Bible, many libraries have it.  There is a correction for the lemon meringue pie, check the errata over on the blog.

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Posted: 30 September 2011 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Julie,

Thank you. I’d seen the errata, which is one reason I went with the filling I did (both use eggs).  Although I do think the flavor might have been too much if the filling had been deeper. It tasted great, the texture was just unpleasant. I think it had to be overcooked too, though I was watching it closely. A little frustrating!!!  hmmm

My brother is bringing me Rose’s Heavenly Cakes when he visits in a few weeks along with a new scale. I’m so excited!!  grin I plan to pick up the Pie and Cake Bible when I’m in the States for Christmas. I looked at having him bring it, but I think I’m about to make his luggage overweight smile

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