Archive | January, 2012

(Meyer) Lemon Meringue Pie

27 Jan

Here is a spectacular dessert in taste and in looks.  From the buttery crust to the silky and light meringue you’ll be in heaven.  I used meyer lemons in this recipe but you could use whatever lemons that you have on hand.  I made the crust first.  I blind baked it in the oven and set it to cool while I made my lemon curd.  While my lemon curd was thickening on the stove I made my meringue. You must try it.  You need to stop what you are doing at this very moment and make this pie. Unless of course you are in the process of something important like fighting world hunger or finding a cure for a disease….then you can make it later.  Or of course if you don’t have lemons then your not going to be able to make this.  I will not permit bottled lemon juice.  I myself buy and use it sometimes in my tea but if you are going to go through the process of making this delicious pie you need to use the REAL stuff and for those of you who want to use margarine instead of the butter……I can’t go there because this is a family friendly site.

Let’s start with the crust…

Crust

2.5 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp of salt

2 tsp of sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) of chilled butter cut into small pieces

1/4 cup of ice water.

Set oven to 400′.  In a food processor add the flour, salt and sugar.  Add the butter all at once and pulse about 10 times.  Turn the processor on and gradually add the ice water until the dough forms a loose ball.  Put your dough quicly into plastic wrap and wrap up tightly and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once dough has had time to chill roll out of floured surface about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.  Put on your lightly buttered pie plate and blind bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Check often b/c your cook times could be different.  I lay a sheet of foil over my crust add my pie weights to cover the bottom and then bake it so that the dough doesn’t puff up.

(Meyer) Lemon Curd

1/3 of cornstarch

1 1/3 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 cup of water

4 egg yolks (whites will be used for meringue)

1/2 cup of lemon juice

zest of lemons used for juice

3 tbs of cold butter

In a small saucepan combine constarch, sugar, salt and water.  On medium heat cook untill mixture is slightly thick and clear. Add lemon juice and cook for another minute.  Remove off heat source.  Take your egg yolks and break them up in a small bowl.  Take about a cup of the hot lemon mixture and slowly add it to your egg yolks while constantly whisking so that they eggs don’t cook but cream together smoothly.  Add your egg mixture with the rest of the lemon mixture in the saucepan still whisking so that the eggs don’t cook in chunks we aren’t making scrambled eggs here.  Put your mixture back on the heat and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and whisk in lemon zestand butter.

You can start your meringue while the lemon curd is cooking or you can finish making the curd and then start the meringue.  If you aren’t comfortable then do everything seperate so that you don’t risk burning the curd.

Meringue

4 egg whites

1/4 tsp of cream of tartar

1/2 cup hot syrup (1/2 cup of water and 1/2 sugar boiled together until sugar has melted)

3 tbs of sugar

Beat egg whites with your whisk attachment on your mixer until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and your sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Beat on high until you get soft peaks. Gradually add your hot simple syrup until your peaks stand on their own.  Do not over beat!!  You will know because the mixture will start ot dry up and separate.

On our cooled pie shell spread your lemon curd.  Then you can simply spread on your meringue with an offset spatula or you can pipe it on like I did in the picture above.  Put it in a 400′ oven for about 10-15 minutes.  Watch it while it’s in the oven. You just want the top of your meringue to brown up slightly.  The purpose is to brown the top because the pie itself is cooked already.

Enjoy.

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Custard Pie (Greek)

21 Jan

I had a box of phyllo that I had planned to use up during Christmas but never did.  I came across a couple of recipes for a custard pie a while ago and decided to give it a go.  It might seem like a lot of butter to use but it really is needed to don’t be cheap on the butter.  This dish didn’t take long to complete and everyone who tried it really liked it.  I tried it warm and I tried it cooled down and both ways it delicious.  Here’s the recipe.

Greek Custard Pie

6 cups of milk (I used half whole milk and half 2%, but feel free to use either or)

1 cup of fine semolina

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp of vanilla extract (I used 1tsp of vanilla paste)

3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

1 cup of melted butter

1 package of phyllo sheets

Syrup

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of orange juice

In a medium size sauce pan add milk, semolina, sugar and vanilla to a simmer while stirring constantly.  It will take a little bit to start to thicken but when it does it will happen pretty quickly.  In a bowl beat eggs and set aside.  Once your mixture resembles the consistancy of pudding take about a laddle of the semolina mixture and add it to the beaten eggs while whisking quickly so that you don’t get scrambled eggs but temper them instead.  Once you have done this add that mixture back to the saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.   Make sure to keep stirring your mixture so that it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.  Add in zests and give a final stir.  Take off of heat and set aside.

Butter a 10×13 pan.  I just used my glass lasagna dish and it worked fine.  Once buttered start layering your phyllo sheets making sure to butter each layer with melted butter.  Use half your sheets on the bottom.  I used 6 sheets on the bottom and 6 on top.  After you have layered and buttered half your sheets you then pour your semolina mixture making sure that it is spread evenly.  Start layering your remaining phyllo sheets and in case you forgot. BUTTER EACH LAYER.  If you have any overhang of the sheets just tuck them in along the sides.  Butter the top and if  you would like sprinkle with sugar.    Bake at 375′ for 30-40 min or until the top is golden brown.  This is what mine looked like when it came out of the oven.

Boil 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice.  Once boiled for 1-2 min then pour over your dish and let sit for 1  hour before you start cutting.  It’s better to let it sit for a couple of hours but patience really doesn’t happen much in this household.  As you can see in the picture above my husband cut a piece before I could take a picture of it.  He burned his tongue so that made up for it in the end. I love you honey!!!

Trying to Catch Up…..

16 Jan

I have yet to add any pics of anything I have cooked yet but I promise it’s coming.  I am still getting used to being home and trying to catch up on all the cleaning I neglected when I made the decision to leave my job.  I figured I would catch up with everything when I stayed home.  I just can’t believe how much laundry adds up in this house.   I don’t think my kids are capable of wearing any piece of clothing twice.  Either they are wiping their leaking noses on their sleeve or before anything hits their mouth it makes a pit stop on their shirts.  Here are some pics of some of the messy moments I was able to catch on film!