Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites - August Secret Recipe Club #Recipe

If you ever do a search for lemon recipes on my blog, you will see I have a weakness for the tart citrus. Lemons really are my favorite for both savory cooking and sweet baking. My favorite dessert of all time just happens to be the lemon meringue pie.

But the catch is I only eat it if it was homemade. No processed fakes, please.

In fact, I think the hardest part of being pregnant with my 3 children was the ban on meringue. It was truly painful to pass up.

But this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment brought me right back to my love. It also reminded me that I had a lingering craving for lemon meringue that has lasted about 7 years.  I am very overdue!

Secret Recipe Club

For August I was assigned to to Leigh's blog, Chit Chat Chomp. Like myself, Leigh started her blog to expand her culinary skills and repertoire. Thrilled with the challenge of complicated ingredient lists and dishes, now each of us enjoys a fresher and simpler approach to eating. I have my farm and Leigh has the backdrop of France to cook from. 

Originally I wanted to make her barley risotto. My husband is currently harvesting barley and I found it very fitting. Oddly, I have had a hard time finding it milled  in the store. Sadly it doesn't just show up like that in the field. But when I stumbled upon her Lemon Meringue Pie Bites, there was no going back. The risotto will have to wait for another day...

This recipe calls for premade shortcrust pastry. After a google search I found the equivalent here is pie dough and in France is called pâte brisée. It was simple enough to make at home with real butter, cold flour and my pastry cutter. I am a die-hard for handmade pastry dough. I just don't find machine made crusts to be as tender or flaky.

The filling came together easily and beautifully. I didn't even have to make a traditional lemon curd. Just a quick whisk and strain produced the lucious lemon filling. I will warn you that this recipe does create a little army of pie bites. I didn't even end up making the entire batch.

A true shame, but I wanted to be able to button my pants. I have no will power where lemon is involved.

So a big thank you to Leigh for introducting me to this recipe. Even my husband, the man who is non-plussed by most of my lemon dishes, enjoyed several of them while they lasted. Alas, they were not long meant for our house and the baby and I finished them all in a few short days.

He seems to love lemon desserts almost as much as his Mama does!

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites
recipe from Chit Chat Chomp and originally from Donna Hay Magazine

You Will Need:
3/4 c. superfine sugar (pulse up sugar in a food processor till fine)
3 eggs
1/2 c. lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
3/4 c. heavy cream
pie dough
2 egg whites
1/2 c. superfine sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles of pastry dough to fit into a pre-greased mini muffin tin. Blind bake the shells for 10 - 12 minutes or until they turn light golden brown. Let them cool slightly while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 285 degrees.

Whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and cream. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before straining out the zest. Put the filling mixture into a pourable container. Fill each tart shell to the top, but take care not to overfill. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the lemon curd has set.

In the last few minutes of baking, prepare the meringue topping. Beat th egg whites till frothy and then add in the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. The mixture will also be glossy and thick. Spoon or pipe onto the baked pie bites and set under broil until the tops are golden brown. Keep a close eye on them since the sugar can burn quickly.


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