Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday is PIE DAY!

Ok-have you all been going mad waiting for today's pie post?  I know that I've been going mad waiting for a taste of it.  So, FYI, this one is a sloooooooow cooling one, and you must make sure that it is completely cool before cutting (once it's gotten to room temperature, you can speed the process up in the fridge).  It's really worth the wait. 
Lemon desserts are always a favorite for me.  I'm pretty sure we have a tartness loving gene that runs in our family. Lemon pies are especially delightful because they showcase the tartness by nestling it in a slightly sweet, flaky crust.  It's also very easy to adjust your desired level of tartness with the amount of sugar that you use.  (I, naturally, err on the side of the lemon). 

I love Shaker Lemon pie so much, that it is a challenge for me to spend time on any other lemon pie.  Lately, I've had a couple people mention a variety of lemon pie that incorporates a meringue into the filling, rather than on top.  Many different versions of this recipe are out there, and most call the pie Lemon Sponge Pie or Lemon Cake Pie.  For this week's Pie Day, I experimented with my own version, and here are the results.

Lemon Sponge Pie

one 9-inch single crust pastry
6 T butter, softened
3/4 c sugar, plus 1 T sugar
2 large eggs, separated
2 T all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1 c whole milk
zest and juice of 1 large lemon

-prepare pie crust
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar together in large bowl
-add egg yolks, flour, salt, milk, and lemon
-beat until smooth (this is easiest to do with a paddle attachement on an electric mixer)
-in another bowl, beat the egg whites
-slowly add 1 T sugar and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks
-fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture until completely incorporated
-pour the filling into the crust
-bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden and springs back
The egg whites rise to the top of the pie and become a light golden crown, and the filling becomes a cake-y, custard like bottom layer.  I have to say that I think I much prefer my meringue in this form.  The lemon flavor carries through both layers, and it is a delightful combination of textures.  Chilling this pie in the refrigerator (which I'm going to do as soon as my new refrigerator is delivered today!!) will help really firm it up, define the layers and highlight the lemon flavor. 

Happy Fri(Pie)day.

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