Lemon Meringue Pie

I have posted on making a lemon meringue pie before Birthday pie: lemon meringue. This is a different recipe. I baked this pie for the same purpose as this year our favorite Airman is home with us for her birthday. And again she requested a lemon meringue pie. This year’s pie is from PCV Emily, now RPCV. I make her pie crust as my go-to crust and you will find that one here. The apple cider vinegar and egg pie crust is fabulous. Each batch makes three nine inch crusts. I made two batches. I use my food processor for easy mixing.

When Emily sent my son the recipe for the pie crust she also sent recipes for some pie fillings, one of which was Lemon Meringue. I went with that this year. It calls for 6 eggs. The ingredients were not as clear as I had hoped. But I figured them out and the pie was a big hit. And turned out better this year than two years ago.

For the Lemon Curd:

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice and zest of those lemons (how many lemons is this? I used 4 and had to add a bit of bottled lemon juice to make 1/2 cup. The lemons were small and I got tired of juicing them!)
  • 3 whole eggs (save the whites for the meringue): this is understandable
  • 3 egg yolks (this makes it confusing: is this from the above eggs? or is it a total of 6 egg yolks?)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tab butter cut into pieces (this is one stick=1/2 cup)

I decided to use 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, saving the 4 egg whites for the meringue. Mix all the ingredients into a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat so nothing sticks to the bottom and the eggs don’t scramble. Do this until one boil bubble comes to the top. This will take awhile. You could strain this through a sieve to remove seeds and zest but I like zest and there were no seeds in my lemon juice.

Now make the meringue. This turned out really well. I was very pleased.

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (whirl the sugar in a food processor to make it superfine)

In a bone dry and very clean bowl beat egg whites and tartar with a mixer until very foamy. Slowly add in sugar as you continue mixing. Mix until stiff peaks have formed.

Now here’s where I wasn’t prepared. The pie crust needed to be pre-baked. This would have easily been done while I was preparing the filling, but I didn’t think to do this. So I now have stiffly whipped meringue in my mixer bowl and fully cooked and hot lemon curd in my saucepan. And I had used a pyrex 8-inch pie dish and still have no pie beans for pre-baking! And I had deliberately placed the pie crust in the dish in the freezer to prevent shrinkage, but had it out at room temperature while I was preparing the curd and meringue, and now I have to pre-bake. I end up with a little shrinkage and a bit of soggy bottom at the end. Life goes on.

Spread the curd into the pre-baked (mine was half-baked) pie crust. Pile the meringue on top. I had lots of meringue. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.

Happy Birthday Val!

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This was cut while slightly warm. The curd firmed up the when completely cooled.

 

 

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Lemon Pudding Cake

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This dessert recipe I found many years ago on allrecipes.com. In fact it was 2010 when I printed it out so maybe that is not so many years ago. The recipe is still posted here. I did not make too many adjustments so as not to mangle the results.

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (I juiced one lemon and topped it up with jarred lemon juice to make 1/3 cup.)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (this was 1/2 the zest from the aforementioned lemon; I froze the remainder for future use.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour (I did not sift. I figure if I whisk the flour in the container and then spoon it into the measuring cup lightly without packing, that is close enough.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I did not have cow’s milk except for half-and-half. So I used 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1/2 cup almond milk which emptied the carton, so I topped it up with 1/2 cup cashew milk. I thought it was necessary to use the half-and-half for the fat content.)

Beat together egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter until thick and lemon colored. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add this alternating with additions of the milk.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Blend egg whites into the batter on low speed of electric mixer. I am so glad I have two bowls for my KitchenAid mixer. I used one bowl with the paddle attachment for the batter and the other bowl with the whisk attachment for the egg whites.

Pour this into an -inch square pan. Heat oven to 350 F. This bakes in a bain marie: place a 9 x 13 inch pan in the oven with hot water. Put the square pan in it and bake for 45 minutes.

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We ate this warm from the oven. The sauce/pudding formed under the sponge thickens up as it cools so it is good warm or cool. The birthday girl had a second helping and declared it good! 🙂

Lemon Tea Bread

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I came home from work one day this past week and wanted to make something in a loaf pan. I took a handful of cookbooks outdoors and sat at the patio table looking through them to find something to make. I know that a traditional pound cake is a loaf cake but I wanted something else. This recipe is from my KitchenAid cookbook published in 1992. It is the larger cookbook, spiral bound, and not the one that comes with the mixer. I have that one as well but my sister said this larger one does not have all of the recipes from the smaller one, so I kept them both.

I have two lemons that need to be used. I have buttermilk but this recipe did not call for that. After deciding on this recipe I find a similar recipe using buttermilk on the back of the walnut package. Oh well, maybe next time.

I actually did a mise en place. Even chopping the walnuts and zesting the lemon before starting to make the batter. Highly unusual for me with baking in that I always assume that I have everything I need.

This is a tasty and moist bread. It is very nice to have with morning coffee. It would be nice with afternoon tea.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk; I used vanilla almond milk.
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel; I zested one medium sized lemon and juiced it for the lemon glaze (see below).

Put butter, sugar, and eggs in the mixer bowl and beat for one minute at speed 6. I was amazed at how this higher speed creamed everything together so much nicer that using the lower speeds. Combine dry ingredients and add alternating with the milk, ending with the flour. Stir in the zest and the nuts.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 325 F for 55-65 minutes. Brush with Lemon Glaze and cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove and cool on wire rack.

Lemon Glaze: 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar. The recipe says to bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until slightly thickened. Well, I put the juice and sugar in a small microwave safe bowl and nuked it for about 90 seconds in 30 second intervals. I poured this over the warm bread.

I had just read that breads and cakes made with citrus zest supposedly taste better the next day after the flavors permeate. I sent a piece to work with Hubby the next day and he reported that this is so.

Chicken with Lemons and Olives

I like the idea of Mediterranean cooking. I have a variety of cookbooks that are published in the UK. I go through and mark my cookbooks for the recipes I want to try. I know I have done a lemon chicken with garlic before but this is a bit different. The only garlic in this one is the garlic infused chicken broth I used.

I had not been inspired by any recipes in particular lately. We have been eating plain food: cheeseburgers on toast, frozen filet of fish, chicken pot pie, chili, grilled Italian sausages, scrambled eggs. Baking has been put off due to stomach issues and wanting to lose a bit of weight. What am I supposed to do in my kitchen?

So I wanted to put together a nice dinner. And although I had planned to make a shepherd pie I found I did not have ground meat, but did have chicken. So I looked through my Mediterranean cookbook and found this one. The combination of spices sounded so tasty. I really wanted to use the crockpot and not have to do all the cooking when I came home from work. So I got out the crockpot and just threw it all in there. Well, I made the recipe my own. Here is what I did.

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup garlic-infused chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • a bit of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in wedges
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives

I wanted to throw everything in the crockpot and do nothing else. But I decided to briefly saute the onion with the ginger in a bit of olive oil. I then placed this in the bottom of the crockpot. I mixed the dry ingredients together and rubbed this on the chicken before placing them on top of the onion in the pot. I drizzled the honey on top and then added the broth. I set the pot on low and left it from 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM. At four I turned it down to the keep warm setting and added the lemon and olives. We ate dinner at 6:00 PM.

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I served this with a salad and couscous. I skillet toasted some walnuts and added them to the couscous along with a sprinkling of dried parsley and crumbled feta cheese. Dinner was a hit and there are leftovers for tomorrow night’s supper. Yea!

Birthday pie: lemon meringue

My stepdaughter is having a birthday and then she’s going off to join the Air Force. Wow! It is tradition to have the birthday child to select the type of dinner and cake she/he would like for their celebration. This one likes pie. Apple pie, lemon meringue pie, pie! This year she has selected barbecue ribs (Hubby’s job to grill) and lemon meringue pie which is mine to make.

I have a French cookbook of the coffee table variety which has a wonderful recipe for lemon meringue pie with a lemon curd. That uses butter. I also looked at one of my British baking books which has both a lemon curd tart and a lemon meringue pie. Which to make?

I decide to go with the lemon meringue pie from Home Baking: Cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, bread (Paragon Publishing 2005). I am not following this exactly because…well, just because! Almost, but adding one more egg and one more lemon. Here are my ingredients:

  • single pie crust; I recently made a batch of the apple cider vinegar pie crust and have one disc in the freezer. I thaw this out.
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • juice and grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, separated

The pie crust needs to be pre-baked. i do not do this well. I want to buy some of those pie beans or some such to learn to do this better. But I have to make do with what is available. I do not have dried beans in the pantry. What to do? Last time I tried to pre-bake a crust I put a pot lid on it and this was not successful. It puffed up underneath the lid and the edges shrunk. This time I fit a disposable foil pie tin inside the pie pan and then put the lid on it. The recipe says to prick the crust all over and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. I did this and then uncovered the crust and let it bake for another 10 minutes raising the temperature to 375 F. This worked nicely, light brown, no shrinkage.

20161020_214726222_iosNow for the filling. I do a nice mise en place. I have misplaced/lost the insert to my old-time juicer so juicing the lemons is not as fun or simple as it was before.

Mi the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the cold water. Put the remaining water in a medium sized pot along with the lemon juice, zest and cornstarch paste. Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in 5 tablespoons of sugar and the egg yolks. I temper the egg yolks by stirring in a little of the lemon mixture first so as not to have scrambled eggs in the lemon pudding. Pour all of that into the pie shell.

Whip the egg whites until stiff and then whisk in the remaining sugar. I read up on meringues and later figured there should have been more sugar and I should have waited to put the sugar in and should not have whipped them so stiff. Anyway I then had to spread this carefully over the top of the pie. And since it was so stiff it did not spread easily.

Very lemony taste! I am not sure why the meringue cracked unless it was because i whipped the egg whites too stiff.  It was enjoyed by all!

Plain cooking

plain cooking 003Ever have one of those days that you are tired at the end of a work day, motivation to “create” dinner is just not there, there’s another tragedy in the news, and the weather forecast is early spring turning back into winter? I did not want to sit down and brood over the local tragedy so I made myself fix dinner. We have been using up what groceries are in the house so the fridge is on the empty side. Luckily the last of the meat (chicken thighs) was thawed in the fridge. And there was one lemon and a bit of sad looking parsley. I was trying to keep fresh herbs in cups of water in the fridge but I am not successful at that yet. They just don’t stay looking fresh. What am I doing wrong?

I have made a lemon chicken recipe before:  https://mykitchenmythoughts.com/2015/12/03/making-do-a-lesson-in-humility/. But this is slightly different and does not require marinading. I basically just layered chicken thighs, lemon slices, and garlic cloves in a baking pan. Squirted it all over with the lemon juice, sprinkled on some of the chopped sad looking parsley for a bit of color, and baked for 35 minutes at 350 F. I chopped up the last romaine heart, salvaged one carrot from a batch that were trying to sprout, and the remainder of the celery for a side salad. Now the fridge feels good and truly empty! But there is dinner…

The next day was a grocery shopping day. I was trying to think about what we needed only for the week otherwise I over buy. This is one reason I go to the discount grocery stores. More food for less money! But so much food can inhibit my creativity as well. There can be too much to choose from. This is often when I revert back to basic “non creative” cooking and baking such as throwing a roast in a pot, opening cans to make turkey chili, pre-breaded fish fillets, spaghetti and then leftover spaghetti, and sometimes scrambled eggs for dinner.

But now there is food in the house so we will see what this week brings!