Monthly Archives: November 2010

#11 Lemon Meringue Pie

WHY THIS PIE?

As I travel further into the pie challenge, I’m finding that there are some good-old standbys that I have yet to make.  Lemon Meringue is one of them; a classic pie that a true pie maker should have in her back pocket.   This pie also happens to be the favorite of my most favorite chef: Alton Brown.

This week’s pie is Lemon Meringue Pie (recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, FoodNetwork.com).  *Important* if you simply follow the instructions word-for-word on Alton’s recipe, you’ll end up with a runny mess.  You’ll do good to watch the video before proceeding with this pie.   I also found that Betty Crocker’s recipe has more clearly written instructions than AB, so I used this for backup.

Lemon Meringue Pie

HOW DID IT GO?

I had to make this one twice.  My first attempt was a train-wreck!  I thought I had it all down before I started, but low and behold the pie turned into a soupy mess when I cut into it.  I went back to the drawing board and learned a couple of things about the process

1.  When they say “boil”, they mean it.

2.  When you add the egg yolks to the filling, be sure to bring the whole mixture back to a boil.

3.  Make sure that the filling is very thick before you pour it into the crust.  It will not set any further while in the oven or in the refrigerator.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

The first time around was a bit of a mess.  I had to make this pie twice.  In the disaster of a pie below, notice the soupy interior and the separation of the meringue from the crust.   Not good.  This happens when you don’t cook the filling enough before pouring it into the pie shell.  After adding the egg yolks back to the filling, make sure to bring the mixture back to a boil and cook until it’s thick.   You’ll also notice that the meringue is pulling away from the crust.  When I put this together, I was too concerned with creating a pretty pie, and I didn’t spread the meringue all the way to the edge.  As a result, the meringue pulled away from the crust.  Again, not good.   I *thought* had done a good job of making this pie until I cut into it.   In the end, this proved to be a more difficult pie than I expected.

Sadly, the pie below didn’t make it.  It died a tragic death in the disposal.  Lesson learned?  Cook the filling well.  Pull the meringue way over the edge of the crust; don’t worry about making a pretty pie.

Lemon Meringue Gone Wrong

#10 Peanut Butter Pie

WHY THIS PIE?

I love peanut butter.   And I don’t have much more to say than that.

This week’s pie is Mrs. Salter’s Peanut Butter Pie (Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen, FoodNetwork.com)

Peanut Butter Pie

HOW DID IT GO?

Another super easy pie to make.  This would be a great pie to make for a short-notice dinner party, and would be sure to impress.  The filling probably took 5 minutes to whip together.  The only time consuming thing about the whole process is waiting for the crust to cool, then for the pie to set in the fridge.  Agonizing.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

You have to know what you’re getting into with a Paula Deen recipe.  Don’t expect anything light, even if she says it will be.  This pie is dense, rich and creamy… so dense that you might be better off mentally preparing yourself for a bite of cheesecake.  Also, I was expecting a lot stronger peanut butter flavor from this recipe; the combination of whipping cream and cream cheese tone down the peanut butter flavor quite a bit.  It definitely needs chocolate to add dimension to the flavors and to break the monotony of dense peanut butter and cream cheese.  Next time I make this, I’ll use a chocolate cookie crust instead of graham cracker.  But I’m not convinced that this is the best recipe out there for peanut butter loving pie eaters.  I’ll seek out few more peanut butter pie recipes before I come back around to this one again.