July 15, 2013

Lemon Meringue with Shortbread Crust

This is by far the best lemon meringue pie I've ever made or tasted for that matter. I found the original recipe here but substituted my own crust and made a few minor tweaks with the rest of the ingredients. I think the secret to this one is the use of Caster sugar (see below). The recipe below yields one large pie, however I've doubled the recipe each time I've made it because who can eat only one pie.

1. In terms of consistency, Caster Sugar is somewhere between granulated and confection sugar. You can make your own by adding granulated sugar to a food processor and pulsing, however I found C&H sells it at any local grocery store, not even a specialized one. And, a large box like the one pictured below (which would make about 4 pies) is under $5.

2. Be careful when heating the curd mixture. It becomes thick very quickly around the 14 min mark.
3. It is impossible to over-beat the meringue so feel free to keep it going for upwards of 5 minutes to ensure that it doesn't lost it's firmness once you start the blow torch.
4. Feel free to make the crust and fill it with the curd then refrigerate up to a day before, however don't make the meringue until at most a few hours before serving, then refrigerate until serving.

Shortbread Crust
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour

Lemon Curd
6 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Cups Caster Sugar
9 Tbs Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 cup butter

6 Egg Whites
1 1/3 Cups Caster Sugar

Shortbread Crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Blend cream cheese and butter.

3. Stir in flour just until blended.

4. Chill about 1 hour.

5. Spread into tart pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

6. Let cool completely before removing from tart pan.

Lemon Curd
1. On low heat, add sugar and egg yolks to a saucepan and continuously whisk.

2. Once warm, very slowly add the lemon juice, whisking continuously.

3. Leave on low heat for 15 minutes until thick, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the butter and rind and mix until combined.
5. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

1. Beat egg whites in a stand mixer on high.
2. Slowly add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

3. Beat the mixture until you get stiff peaks.

1. Place the lemon curd into the pastry shell.

2. Dollop the meringue on top of the curd using a fork to either swirl the mixture or to create tall peaks.

3. Using a butane torch on the highest setting, use a circular motion to brown the meringue.