Monday, June 14, 2010
And from the North Western Quadrant...
Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. It's a triple layer of science: Pastry, Custard, Meringue.
One of my guilty pleasures is watching Canadian Pastry Chef Anna Olson's series Sugar. Man, I 'm surprised that woman has any teeth left. She is, however, technically valuable. For example she tells one to strain the custard ( there are always claggy, eggy floaters) and to put the raw pastry shell in the freezer to firm up. And she's right.
You can have a look at her recipe for yourselves, I 'll just bang on about the way I did it. http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/9352/lemon-meringue-pie
Oh, and it went down very well as the last course of the Family Fusion Feast. Except for fussy son #2 who had crisps.
Changes: I used cream not egg to bind to pastry - it worked.
I used a ceramic pie dish, however, next time I will be using a loose bottomed metal pie tin. A bit like this one* The holes in the bottom encourage the moisture in the pastry to evaporate promoting a crisp bottom. Soggy bottoms often let pie and tarts down. Make your own joke.
*After spending 8 minutes of my life trying to find a picture of one online I come to the conclusion this is Not The Best Use of Anyone's time, particularly when my kitchen looks like this.
However, I do know a man who sells them. From this shop - more of which later on this week.http://www.basicsandbeyond.com.au/
Ms Olson makes good points about the pastry - firm up the shell in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking, give it an al-foil collar half way through cooking and let it sit in the turned-off oven for 10 minutes after baking time.
All these steps are worth taking time over as the crispness, yet tenderness of your pie shell is what will count.
Pastry = Science. More of that later.
The lemony custard filling of a LMP must be firm and sharp and sweet, so don't skimp on the lemon juice nor the cornstarch.
The meringue must be crisp on the outside and yielding on the inside.
Sure enough, the one I produced was all of the above, however I did not bargain for the extra catergory of Sloshy.
Because, like the best of us, I can be a Fat Handed Twat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQyxGTjZi2I, as I pick up the finished pie to transfer it to the fridge I drop, it just a little: it leaks a clear fluid. Mild Panic. Have I stuffed up the meringue? The egg whites are not plasticised in the centre and are oozing water? I dip in one of my fat fingers and the liquid is lemony-sugary syrup. In my mild panic I knock an olive oil bottle on denting the meringue top and after explaining to my son why I am swearing I excise 2cm square piece for further investigation. It is not the meringue - that is continent, it must be the filling. The pastry is not soggy, so I must be the filling. I tip the dish and more lemony-sugary syrup trickles out. The filling has separated. What is the science behind this? Eggs = Science. Have the stupendously effective insulating properites of egg white prohibited the escapte of the steam from the re-heated filling? Is it merely lemony condensation?
Anyhow, I am thankful I drained the pie before serving or would a thorough chilling have re-amalgamated the filling?
Dunno, but I won't be cutting no watery slice of pie I can tell you.
On the whole, I got it about 85% right. Thanks for the tips, Anna. It was gone in 85 seconds.