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Lemon Meringue Tart #PiDay


When I was brainstorming about what to serve at Jenn's Pi Day birthday party, I was looking for an array of pies to make and asked my hive mind for their favorites. Friends from all around the world gave me suggestions:
  • "Apple is, in fact, my favourite. But Mincemeat is a close second." - Kevin in Germany
  • "My favorite pie is the kind I’m eating." - Deb in Alaska 
  • "Strawberry, Blueberry, Derby Pie (warm pecan with chocolate chips!), Coconut Cream, Lemon Ice Box, sure I can think of more. Can't pick just one!!!" - Anna in California
  • Julie in Texas sent me her family recipe for Shoo Fly Pie.
  • Caiti from Washington, DC, echoed her mom's Shoo Fly Pie, but added Strawberry-Rhubarb as well.
  • "Buttermilk Chess Pie" - Marlene from California
  • "Key Lime!" - Laurel in Florida
  • "French Silk" - Charity in Idaho
  • "All pies, really." - Laura in California
  • And a second vote for Strawberry-Rhubarb and one for Lemon Meringue from (another) Jenn in California

Since Lemon Meringue is my favorite, I added that to the dessert line-up. Jenn dropped off some lemons from her father-in-law; and I had the boys pick some from the Nonni's Meyer lemon tree. 

Ingredients makes one 10" tart

Crust
  • 2 C flour + more for rolling
  • 1/2 C organic powdered sugar
  • 3/4 C butter
  • 2 T vodka
  • 1 T limoncello (or more vodka)
  • 1 T cold water
  • Also needed: parchment paper, rolling pin, pie pan


Filling
  • 4 eggs, separated (reserve the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 5 T flour
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained of seeds (this was approximately 8 lemons)
  • zest from 4 organic lemons
  • 3 T butter

Meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 T organic powdered sugar
  • 1 t cream of tartar

Procedure

Crust
In a food processor, combine the flour and sugar, pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add the butter and pulse until the texture looks mealy. Sprinkle in your liquids and pulse until combined. Remove the dough and press into a ball. Wrap the ball tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour. 


Filling
Whisk egg yolks in medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together water and sugar. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add 1 ladle-full of the syrup to the egg yolks to temper them, then pour the remaining eggs into the syrup. Cook for another minute.

Remove from heat and gently stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter until well combined. Whisk in the flour so there are no clumps, then return to the stove, over low heat, and cook until the mixture thickens to a curd consistency.

Pour the filling into the baked pie shell and set aside. Work quickly to make the meringue.


Meringue
Place egg whites in a clean medium mixing bowl. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add powdered sugar and cream of tartar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the meringue over the filling, making sure that the meringue reaches all the way to the edge of the crust. Use a spoon to make some peaks in the meringue as the tops will brown nicely while the low spots will stay white.

Place the pie back in the oven. Bake until meringue is golden, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is completely cool before slicing.


You can see the finished Lemon Meringue Tart didn't have the birthday candles, but it was one of the birthday dessert offerings. Happy 47th birthday, Jenn!

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