Sunday, August 2, 2009

a twisted pie

While having dinner with my aunt Lo she mentioned that my grandmother used to bake not only lemon meringue pie - but she'd also bake a lemon chiffon pie for those of her kids who didn't like that meringue topping... since I've mastered the meringue pie, I decided to attempt the chiffon one...

Thanks to my grandmother's Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook I was able to recreate a pretty fabulous pie. You're still making a meringue - you're just folding it into the lemon curd filling.

While flipping through the pages I also noticed a couple of options for pie pastry - one of which was called the no-roll pastry... a no-frills, quick and dead-simple pie crust. I think it works nicely with this pie, and certainly comes in handy when you don't feel like chilling your dough and then rolling it out. For those of you afraid of making your own crust - this is the one for you! There really is no excuse not to try it (believe me)...

No-Roll Pastry
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon (save the lemon for the pie)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp milk

Preheat your oven to 425 F.

Grab your pie pan. Sift the flour, salt, sugar and lemon zest directly into your pie pan.

In a bowl combine the oil and milk (whisk quickly with a fork).

Pour the oil mixture over the flour mixture and combine using the fork. You want to make sure that all the dry flour is well combined (not showing).

Press the dough into the base and on the sides of the pie pan. Prick all over the base with a fork. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from heat and allow to cool completely. Turn off the oven - you won't need it any more!

Lemon Chiffon Filling
1 pkg gelatine (1 tbsp)
1/4 c. cold water
4 eggs, separated
1 c. white sugar, separated in half
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (juice of two lemons)
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

These ingredients will make both the lemon curd and the meringue.

Dissolve the gelatine into the cold water (allow it to sit for about 10 minutes)

In a large glass bowl, beat together the yolks, 1/2 c. sugar and salt. Add the lemon juice. Over a saucepan of simmering water continueally whisk the yolk mixture (use your electric beaters). You'll want to whisk for about 10 - 12 minutes, really allow the curd to become light and fluffy, the colour will become a really soft and mellow yellow. Add the dissolved gelatine and lemon zest and beat for another 5 minutes. Once the gelatine has been completely incorporated into the curd you know you're done.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until it begins to set, but isn't completely firm. The best way to accomplish this, pull it out of the fridge and stir it around every 20 minutes, then return it to the fridge. Do this for about 60 minutes.

At that point, make your meringue. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and then slowly incorporate the remainder of the sugar. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (hold the bowl over your head... if you've beaten them enough you shouldn't have an extra clean-up).

Take a 1/4 of the meringue and beat it into the curd. Once that's well whipped, fold in the remainder of the meringue using a spatula. The result is a really fluffy and light filling. Pour it into your prepared pie crust and chill for at least 2 hours - I chilled mine overnight.

Thanks for challenging me Lo - this one was well worth it!

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