It was a beautiful day to bake a pie on Maui. I had prepared my dough a day ago and it was chilling in the fridge. I found the big beautiful Meyer's lemons which Not Quite Nigella had suggested because of their amazing sweetness, and the light seemed right for photographing today. Actually, there were intermittent clouds and a possibility of showers which was a perfect day to stay indoors and play with flour.
I have been making my own pie crusts for years ever since a lady taught me on the Big Island of Hawaii. She called it the Perfect Pie Crust recipe and I have elaborated on it ever since. I know it by heart though which makes it so easy. I start with 2 cups of all-purpose flour. I sift that with a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, then add 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. of shortening.
(I use Crisco and butter) for flakiness and butter flavor. I just scoop out my cold butter into the measuring cup and add Crisco to make the additional amount. 2/3 cup plus 2 TBSP. of shortening.
I begin crumbling the flour and butter between my thumbs and fingers to distribute the shortening. I add one egg yolk for golden color and the sugar makes it brown slightly and taste sweet. Patee Brisee is a sweet pastry dough. Now I add 6-10 TBSP. of ice water to make the dough the right consistency for a perfect pie crust. If it gets a little too wet add more flour until it feel just right. Mold it into a ball and refrigerate for about an hour in a ziploc bag.
First cut this dough in 1/2 before you start rolling it out. This recipe is for a two crust pie.
It is so nice to make your own pie crusts, especially during the holidays. Nothing can compare to a homemade perfect buttery flaky pie crust. Those cardboard storebought types are just not the same.
Roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thickness and then lift it up off the surface by sliding a spatula all the way around under the dough.
Place it into the pie dish and finish the edges how you like them. It depends what type of pie I'm making as to how I create my edges. This time I kept it plain and simple because I knew I'd be piling it high with the meringue.
This requires a pre-baked pie shell, so I first pricked the bottom with a knife to vent it and weighted it with some ceramic weights I have. (Actually these are cookie dough molds which worked fine.) They say to use dried beans otherwise. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Take out and lower heat to 325 degrees.
The Meyer's lemons were incredibly juicey and fragrant. The recipe called for 1/2 cup lemon juice, or 2 lemons.
To make the lemon curd, first I whisked the 1 cup of sugar, 8 large egg yolks, 1/8 tsp. of salt and 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a pan. I gradually added 1 1/2 cups of water and heated on low-medium until the mixture was thickened, as instructed. I nearly scorched it by raising the heat too fast. I removed it from the heat and added the lemon juice, 2 TBSP. of melted butter and 1 TBSP. lemon zest.
The lemon curd filling is spread into the pre-baked pie shell then the meringue is piled high on top.
I let it cool down while I prepared the meringue which consists of 8 egg whites, 2 TBSP.cornstarch, 2/3 cup of water, 1 tsp. cream of tartar and 1 cup of sugar.
Not Quite Nigella said to first mix the 2 TBSP. of cornstarch and 2/3 cup of water in a saucepan until it thickens then cool. It thickened very quickly to a satiny mixture. Then beat the egg whites in a large bowl. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer) Thank God I have one because egg whites take quite a while to whip into peaks. The 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. of cream of tartar are added to the egg whites while beating and the satiny cooled cornstarch mixture is added a tablespoon at a time to the egg whites until they are glossy and peak perfectly.
Look how perfect it came out. I piled it high like Not Quite Nigella and I so thoroughly enjoyed creating this pie. It goes back into the oven at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until areas are turning slightly golden brown.
It should be completely cooled before cutting but of course I couldn't wait so this is what the first piece looked like.
Later this evening a well chilled piece came out perfectly piled high and set on top of the lemony mixture.
Voila! My Maui lemon meringue pie. Awesome, delicious lemon meringue pie!
You have to try this. It really is quite easy. I just had to get organized and some days that is easier said than done.
until tomorrow friends.
The Artful Hawaiigirl