Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 76th installment. The recipe is Not-Your-Usual Lemon Meringue Pie.
(Catching up on posting! I baked these back in March, but finally getting to posting now!)
This "pie" was delicious, and it was interesting to prepare the different components. Each of them might be useful for other projects.
The lemon part is a lemon curd, made with whole eggs, rather than just yolks, and whipped in the electric mixer so it is kind of fluffy and light, and then cooked double boiler-style over hot water on the stove.
You tuck that away in the fridge to chill, and then move on to the "crust".
At this point, I wish I had some kind of special graphic icon for "Oh no, not phyllo again" :-)
The "crust" is made by layering together phyllo sheets with butter and sugar, and cutting those stacks into triangles. You bake them layered between parchment sheets, and weighted with baking sheets, in order to keep them flat. A lack of consistently sized baking sheets, and a small oven that doesn't fit large baking sheets resulted in a rather uneven set of crusts, with some dark edges. I think in retrospect, I could have tried to size the strips of phyllo to fit completely under my baking sheets, although I suppose this is more like a pie crust with dark edges! And at that point, I was ready to be done fussing with the phyllo.
The meringue is a straightforward meringue, with brown sugar rather than white sugar, prepared just before serving. Kitchen Aid mixer made it easy to get the loft into the meringue in a hurry.
When it's time to assemble the servings, you put a triangle on a plate, top with some lemon curd, and then pipe meringue onto the curd. In order to brown the meringue, they suggest using a torch, since using the broiler can melt the delicate curd. This was a good excuse to buy a culinary torch ;-)
This gadget is kind of like hardware store meets kitchen, and is a lot of fun, although frivolous. Given the ice and snow still surrounding us, we did consider taking it outside to melt the ice dams in our gutters!
Once you have a layer of curd and browned meringue, you put on another layer of curd and meringue, brown that, and then top with another triangle. Whew! I liked it with just a single layer of curd and meringue, but did a few with all the layers and top "crust" just to see the full creation.
I think this recipe is an example of the pastry chef-style concotion - lots of work, and rather fussy, using an excess of different kitchen tools (double boiler, electric mixer, parchment, pastry bag, torch!). However, it does produce an impressive result. I served this to my extended family for a Sunday dinner, to lots of oohs and ahs. I'm not sure I'd prepare the whole shebang all over again, but the recipe was solid, and all the pieces are parts are something that might be useful for a simpler creation some time.