Monday, July 19, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

I'm speechless. Really. 'Sublime' doesn't quite cut it. 

This cheek-puckering, silky lime cream with its' hint of ginger surpasses the velvety deliciousness of the lemon cream we made for the Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.

One of my favorite things about baking is the element of surprise - nothing really matches the fun of trying out a new recipe and then being bowled over by how much you love it. And so I have to admit that the lime cream was a delicious surprise. Combined with Dorie's sweet & flaky pie crust and the cloudy meringue, that does nothing to fight the zingy flavors at play, this pie is awesome. Awe-some. I played around with Dorie's suggestions (but you already knew I would) and added a layer of ginger and lime-infused mango cubes underneath the lime cream, but the flavor from the mango was barely discernible. I didn't mind. Didn't I already explain how the lime cream makes this a sublime pie?

A *huge* thanks to Elizabeth of Gluten-Free Baking 101 for picking the recipe this week. For gluten-free versions of this pie, please head over to Gluten-Free Baking 101. And please take a look at the BWD blogroll to check out everyone else's scrumptious pies. 

Our challenge for 2nd August is the Blueberry Crumb Cake and has been picked by Tina of My Domestic Bliss. If  you'd like to join us, please email me at needfulthings at ymail dot com. We'd love to have you bake along with us!

You can find the recipe for the Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie on pages 337-339 of Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or right here after the jump: 

Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

For the Filling:

I cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 limes
4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
3/4 cup lime juice
1" chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp cornstarch
2.5 sticks unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, at room temperature

Getting ready: Have an instant-read thermometer , a strainer and a blender or food processor at hand. 

Bring a few inches of water to simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest into a heat-proof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the zest and sugar together between your fingertips for a few minutes, until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lime is strong. 

Whisk in the eggs, and then whisk in the ginger, juice and cornstarch. 

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with a whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lime cream till it reaches 180F. As you whisk, you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling - you will see that the eggs will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will become bigger, and then as it comes closer to 180F it will start to thicken and leave tracks. Heads up at this point - the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience - depending on how much heat you are giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as ten minutes. 

As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into a container or blender. Discard the zest (I skipped this step because I had used a microplane zester & wanted to leave the zest in). Let cool until it reaches 140F, about 10 mins. 

Turn the blender/processor on high speed and add the butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Scrape down the sides of the processor as you incorporate the butter. After it is all in, blend/process for 3 mins.

Put the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (The cream can be packed air-tight and frozen for up to 2 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator). 

For the crust: Good for almost everything Pie Dough

1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) very cold (frozen is fine) butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2.5 tbsp very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into two pieces
about 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a processor fitted with a metal blade; process just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only till they are cut into the flour. Don't over-do the mixing - what you're aiming for is some pieces the size of fat peas, and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add 3 tbsp of water, using a few long pulses to get all the water into the flour. If, after a dozen pulses or so, the dough doesn't look evenly-moistened, pulse in as much of the remaining water necessary to get a dough that will stick together. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a work surface. 

Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one hour before rolling. 

To roll out the dough: Have a buttered 9" pie-plate on hand. You can roll teh dough out on a floured surface, or between sheets of wax paper. If you're working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you have time, slide the rolled-out dough into the refrigerator for 20 mins to firm up. 

To fully bake the crust

Fit dough into pie plate, preheat oven to 400F. Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil and weights. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the  back of a spoon. Bake for another 10 mins. Cool completely before filling. 

For the meringue

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

To finish the pie with meringue, preheat broiler. 

Whisk the lime cream to loosen it and spoon into the pie shell. Place the pie on a baking sheet. 

Working in a clean, dry, mixer bowl whisk the egg whites on medium speed until opaque. With the mixer running, add the sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form peaks. 

Spread the meringue over the lime cream, swirling it if you like. make sure it comes all the way to the edges of the crust because it will shrink when it bakes (this is important - mine shrunk away from the sides after baking). 

Run the pie under the broiler for a few minutes until the meringue is golden and the tips are dark brown (I took mine out a tad bit too early because my oven doesn't have a glass door and I can't see what's happening in there, so was afraid to burn the meringue). Let cool for 15 mins and then refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.


tina_bakes said...

your meringue looks great!! wow... must be a challenge baking without a glass oven door :)

am glad you love this so much... now everytime i see a mango dessert i will think of you :)

Grapefruit said...

It really is a challenge to bake without a glass door :(
When I moved to this new place, I had to swap my own stove with this archaic one that belongs to the landlord (voltage issues) & I really hate it at times like these :(

Sage Trifle said...

This does sound awe-some! I don't think I would have thought of putting ginger in a lime pie, but it sounds delicious. And your photos are gorgeous.

Gulmohar said...

I know what you are talking about..can't stop drooling at your pics :-)

chayacomfycook said...

This is gorgeous. It looks as good as it tastes.

Deeba PAB said...

That does look good to me. Love that you made it in a fluted tin...pretty!

Mollie said...

Wow - that looks absolutely amazing!!! I am dying for a slice right now!

Peanutts said...

yumm, that looks fantastic. You make really yumm deserts :)

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry said...

I love the way your meringue is perfectly browned and the texture of the crust is just begging me to take a bite. Such an enticing photo.

lostpastremembered said...

Your pie is just perfect. I love the way you did the meringue in those adorable little puffs... I am a lemon fanatic so I can't wait to try the recipe!!!


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