Tag Archives: Lemons

The Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie

15 Feb

 2013-02-13 12.58.25-1

 When I asked Seth what he wanted for his birthday “cake” he requested a lemon meringue pie. While I don’t think lemon meringue is his favorite pie, it was tradition for him to have one for his birthday growing up. I’d only ever made a lemon meringue pie a few years ago for his birthday and couldn’t remember what recipe I’d used, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t screw up his birthday dessert so I went straight to my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.

While lemon meringue pie is a little bit more fussy than a tradional pie, so long as you get all your supplies together and have everything ready to go, the actual execution isn’t too bad. And the final result sure is beautiful. I really liked the addition of graham cracker crumbs to the basic pie crust… sort of a best of both worlds result. Ultimately Seth loved his pie and that’s good enough for me!

2013-02-13 12.58.25

Graham Cracker-Coated Pie Shell

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3–4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Meringue Topping

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pie shell:

1.  Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1 second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than a small pea, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cold water over mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into mixture; press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together. If dough will not come together, add up to 1 tablespoon more cold water. Shape dough into ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

3. Generously sprinkle work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs. Place dough on work area. Scatter a few more crumbs over dough. Roll dough from center to edges, turning it into a 9-inch disk, rotating a quarter turn after each stroke and sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top as necessary to coat heavily. Flip dough over and continue to roll, but not rotate, to form a 13-inch disk slightly less than 1/8-inch thick.

4. Fold dough into quarters; place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex pie pan. Unfold to cover pan completely, letting excess dough drape over pan lip. To fit dough to pan, lift edge of dough with one hand and press dough in pan bottom with other hand; repeat process around circumferences of pan to ensure dough fits properly and is not stretched. Trim all around, 1/2-inch past lip of pan. Tuck 1/2 inch of overhanging dough under so folded edge is flush with lip of pan; press to seal. Press thumb and index finger about 1/2-inch apart against outside edge of dough, then use index finger or knuckle of other hand to poke a dent on inside edge of dough through opening created by the other fingers. Repeat to flute around perimeter of pie shell.

5. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Use fork to prick shell at 1/2-inch intervals; press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil into pie shell; prick again and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

6. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and rich brown in color, about 10 minutes longer.

For the filling:

7. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large, nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally at beginning of the process and more frequently as mixture begins to thicken. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice, and finally butter. Bring mixture to a brisk simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep hot and prevent skin from forming.

For the meringue:

8. Mix cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in small saucepan; bring to simmer, whisking occasionally at beginning and more frequently as mixture thickens. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat. Let cool while beating egg whites.

9. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; until sugar is incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks. Remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during last minute or so of beating meringue (to ensure filling is hot).

10. Pour filling into pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge then center of pie to keep it from sinking into filling. Make sure meringue attaches to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Use spoon to create peaks all over meringue. Bake pie until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve.

From: America’s Test Kitchen

Chicken Piccata

29 Aug

America’s Test Kitchen seems to love developing chicken with pan sauce recipes. And I’ve made several of them. So far this has come in as one of my favorites. It was a delightfully quick meal to make on a busy weeknight and tasted great with some simple mashed red potatoes. You don’t want to skip this one, especially if you love lemons and capers like I do.

CHICKEN PICCATA

SERVES 4

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

“Chicken cutlets should be about half as thick as boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Most supermarkets carry them, but if you can’t find them (or they look ragged), simply buy 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice your own [in half horizontally].”

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 thin, boneless chicken breast cutlets (4 ounces each)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ large lemon, sliced into ¼-inch-thick half-moons and end discarded
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1½ lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish.

Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining oil and cutlets.

Add the shallot and garlic to the oil left in the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and lemon slices, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice, capers, and any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 3rd Edition

Thai Lemonade

28 Jul

Last night I wanted a non-alcoholic, Asian inspired, summery drink to go with my Chinese Chicken Salad. I thought finding this specific of a request would be nearly impossible. But somehow I lucked out and found this gem. I didn’t have all the exact ingredients on hand, so I just improvised with what I had. I just happened to have a nearly full jug of Simply Lemonade in the fridge, to which I added 5 large leaves of basil (torn) and about 1 teaspoon of fresh ground ginger. I originally put all this stuff in the lemonade jug and shook it up. But, the flavors didn’t mix as well as I hoped, so I put it in the blender and gave it a whirl. This allowed the flavors to meld much better and gave the lemonade a beautiful light green tint. I don’t know that I would do this if you’re using carbonated water as called for in the recipe, but I would definitely recommend this method otherwise.

Anyway, I’ll get to the point. This lemonade was awesome. Not too sweet and not as boring as regular lemonade. And it really didn’t taste as crazy as it sounds. I definitely recommend this one!

p.s. I don’t know if this is actually authentic Thai lemonade. I just gave it that name because it sounded good. Also, taking pictures of beverages is really hard.

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Pasta with Meyer Lemon and Basil

17 Apr

Ok so I didn’t exactly use Meyer lemons for this one. I tried but there weren’t any at my grocery store. So, I just did what the recipe suggested and used 2 regular lemons. This had a nice fresh taste and the lemon really came through. I liked that this was quick and meatless! Although, you could add some grilled chicken if you want to make it a bit heartier.

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