Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

By scott parker

 

Its middle of May, and the snow is falling here in Edmonton, but the pie is bright and sweet like a July day. My childhood favourite, nothing competes to a lemon pie. Simple in its flavour profile, it does not need anything to enhance it, maybe just a touch of vanilla in the meringue

I use 1/2 a batch of my pie dough recipe to make one pie

6 cups of flour

3 yolks + cold water to make one cup

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 lbs lard or shortening

1/2 lbs butter

you can find the complete directions here https://prairiedogwoodcraft.com/blogs/cooking-baking/perfect-blueberry-pie

You want to blind bake your pie shell. I do this by lining the dough with a piece of parchment, then filling it up with uncooked black beans. I have been using the same beans for years. Cook at 425 for about 12 minutes, take it out of the oven and carefully remove the beans and parchment. Egg wash the dough, both the bottom and the sides, this prevents the lemon filling make a soggy crust, and turn down the oven to 350 and cook for about another 12 minutes. Just until the bottom is a golden brown, the top crust may be darker, that is okay, but uncooked pie dough is not.

 for the filling you will need

5 large egg yolks (keep the whites)

1/4 cup of cornstarch

pinch of salt (1/4 tsp)

1 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup lemon juice (4 lemons should do it)

I use the zest of 3 of the lemons

11/3 cups white sugar

4 tbsp butter

zest your lemons directly into your sugar and muddle them together, add the cornstarch and combine. 

add the juice and water and cook on medium high heat while gently whisking until it comes to a boil. Don't use an aluminum pot for this, the lemon will react with the metal, turn everything a nasty colour and taste awful. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and continue to cook for another two minutes. Don't rush this, make sure the starch is cooked or you will end up with runny filling. And be careful, the filling can splatter if it is too high of a temp, and it doesn't feel good when it hits your arms.

Whisk your eggs slightly and temper with the filling. Two people is best for this, one to slowly pour in the hot mix, while the other whisks the yolks while the hot liquid is being added.

Return to the stove, and again bring to a boil on medium high heat while whisking

Pour into the baked pie shell, and now make the meringue

you will need:

your left over 5 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

This is how I like making meringues that I am going to bake

put on a pot of water onto the stove and turn on to medium heat, make sure it is the right size that your bowl that you will be mixing your meringue in will fit on top. Add all your sugar and whites into the mixing bowl, and start whisking over the hot water, making sure you never stop mixing, or the whites will start to cook. Bring your whites and sugar mix up to a nice warm temperature, enough that the sugar is all dissolved. Now add your cream of tartar and mix on high speed. This makes a great, stable meringue that whips up perfectly. You should get stiff shiny peaks. Spread your meringue, or pipe, carefully on top of your slightly cooled lemon filling. Bake in the oven at 400 until golden brown. I don't like to use the broiler and most certainly not a blow torch for this, I like to make sure the meringue is cooked all the way through.

Allow to cool for about 5 hours in the fridge before serving

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Perfect Blueberry Pie

Perfect Blueberry Pie

By scott parker

The perfect blueberry pie, full of blueberries, with a hint of spices and lemon, encased in an enriched pie dough.

For my pie dough I like to use a mix of egg yolks and cold water, but you can always use just water as well. I like the extra richness and colour from the yolks. 

for the pie dough you will need :

6 cups of all purpose flour

1 tbsp salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 pound of butter (what, you think it should be less?)

3 egg yolks plus enough cold water to make 1 cup

combine your dry ingredients and cut in your butter. I do this on the table. Then make a well in the centre to add your liquid. The butter should not be too large of chunks, but a few are ok. What you are trying to do is coat the protein in the flour (gluten) with the fat. This stops it from absorbing as much water, so your pie dough will be tender, having some larger pieces, like large blueberry size, is good to though, as this will add to the flake of your dough. You want to quickly fold in your liquid, just enough to start to bring the dough together, it will, and should look rough in texture. When you roll out the dough it will all come together. 

now that your dough is together, wrap it, and chill, while we get the filling together.

for the filling you will need

900 grams of frozen blueberries ( we get 600 gram bags, so 1 and 1/2 bags)

1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, really just depends how sweet you want your pie

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 lemon

1/8 tsp, so a pinch, of all spice

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all your ingredients together, while your berries are still frozen, and let it sit in the bowl. Have a beer, glass of wine,  just sit back for about an hour. Oh, and one note, with your lemon, zest it into the sugar, then cut and add the juice, then rub the sugar and lemon together. I don't really know if this makes a difference in the final product instead of just zesting it on top of everything else, but it smells so good when you do it that I always do it that way. Same with any flavouring, when you muddle vanilla, mint or basil with your sugar first - amazing.

once your mix is sort of defrosted, it is time to roll out your dough, dump in the filling. You then want to egg wash the the rim, roll out a top, or do a lattice top for something a bit fancier. I bake my fruit pies for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours, all the way up to two. Your pie should be bubbling, and you will probably want to put a tray under it to catch any drips. The crust should be a dark brown, if you have any doubt, let it bake another 10 minutes. 

If you need help or have any questions just email me at info@prairiedogwoodcraft.com

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Making tarts

Making tarts

By scott parker

Been busy the last couple days making tarts. Fresh fruit tart with orange pastry cream and caramelized apple, blueberry, lemon calvados frangipane with homemade puff pastry. If you want the recipes just email me and I will pass them on.

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Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

By scott parker

My son, who is a great cook, decorated this cake for his grandmother’s birthday, tempering the chocolate and after a quick demo, was making his first chocolate cigarettes. No small feat. No matter what, the time and effort you put into making food for the people you love is a gift that never gets old. My son and I will be starting a crash course pastry series this month, answering and showing the basics of making desserts, from custards to pies to chocolate, with a new video every week 

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Basic everyday bread

Basic everyday bread

By scott parker

Bread is a comfort food that has been around for thousands of years, steeped in history, in every part of the world. For some reason though, it has been a misconto people that it is a time consuming process, only made possible by people willing to dedicate themselves to the endless learning curve that is baking. Nonsense. Bread can be done by anyone, and really should be. It is a cheap treat that will make family memories, the same memories I have from growing up. Everyone in my family can, and does participate in making our twice weekly production of our favourite breakfast bread. One person may measure and mix, while another might form it, while another might bake it. It does not fall to one person, and both my wife and I will start the process with out really thinking about it once we need to, just like doing laundry. The following is the recipe we use, along with directions for easy, everyday bread.

 

Everyday Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons of sugar (can be honey, white sugar, or my favourite - molasses)

1 package or 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast

6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoons salt

 

Mixing the bread :

measure the water along with the sugar in the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top, and wait for the yeast to dissolve and start to foam, about seven minutes.  Add the flour, butter, and salt, and mix on low speed, or speed suggested by your mixer, for eight minutes. If kneading by hand, it is ten to twelve minutes of hard work, I really suggest a good mixer if seriously doing this for a family on a regular basis. Once the mixing is done it is time to form your dough into a ball, try to make it smooth on top, but the yeast will work either way, cover with a damp cloth and wait. This is the only tricky period, in the heat of the summer it may take 45 minutes, but in winter it can take up to two hours, this is why it is up to the person who is home to take care of forming the bread. You can tell when it is done because the dough will look like a balloon, you can press down on it, but it will not deflate. If it does deflate, it means it was fermented too long, and your bread will be stale, and pale. Once it is ready, divide into two pieces, and make two rounds, then rest for ten minutes, covered with the cloth. Now form into loaves by rolling each into two rectangles, the same length as the pan, and about 1/4 inch thick or so. Roll the bread tight enough that there are no holes, and seal the seam by pressing it down with the palm of your hand. Place in the buttered  pan, seam side down, and cover. Preheat your oven to 350 and again let rise for 1 hour or until the loaf has visibly risen and is above the pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool in the pan for five minutes or so and remove and cool on a wire rack.

Though the process can seem intimidating at first, after a couple times you will start to be able to read the dough, time it better, and just get used to the steps involved.  This is like starting anything, perfection is not the goal, but the journey is. Even for a busy household, it is possible to do this, as the actual working time might be ten minutes at most. Need help, ask me questions and I will answer them, I am a trained pastry chef, and have been making bread since I was a teenager. 

shop for rolling pins here

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Cooking with fire

Cooking with fire

By scott parker

Although can be tedious, and the learning curve is steeper than you might think, there really is nothing like cooking with real fire. I have used electric smokers, and though the end product is good, it just does not have that same feel. You can't just set it and forget it. This turkey is small, and was cooked at between 250 and 300, so a little higher, only took about three and half hours though. Used fresh herbs from our pots that we keep all year, lemon, and seasoning, that's all. Looking to build a tripod to go over our fire pit this year, so we can start grilling over open flames this summer, and who wouldn't want a big pot of beans or stew going over top of the fire?

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