S2E18 (Pressure) – Lemon Meringue Pie

For the final pressure test of the season, Suzy and Christian were given 90 minutes to produce a lemon meringue pie.

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Both contestants had issues with execution and flavor. Overall, the judges described the results by saying that, “Christian’s looks better than it tastes and Suzy’s tastes better than it looks.” Essentially, it came down to who made the most mistakes, resulting in Suzy’s elimination from the competition.

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I have never made lemon meringue pie before, so I decided to fully follow this recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie. (I jut cut the proportions in half to make a mini-pie). Since I did not deviate from the recipe, I am just going to do a picture representation of the recipe with the proportions of the recipe that I used (so double what follows if you want a full pie).

In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse together a little less than 2/3 of a cup of flour, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening, and 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt until mixture resembles meal. (I did not have a food processor so I just used my hands and it worked fine). Add 1 tablespoon of ice water and toss or pulse until water is incorporated. If necessary, add enough ice water to form a dough and form dough into a disk. Lightly dust dough with flour and chill, wrapped in wax paper for 1 hour.

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On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough until about 1/8 of an inch thick and then fit dough into a pie plate. Prick shell in several places with a fork and chill, covered, for 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 400° F. Line shell with wax paper and fill with rice or pie weights. Bake shell in middle of oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper and rice carefully and bake shell until golden, about 12 minutes more. Cool shell in pie plate on a rack. Lower oven temperature to 350° F.

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In a heavy saucepan, whisk together 1/2 of a cup of sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt and gradually whisk in 1/2 of a cup of water and 1/4 of a cup of milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. Cook milk mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil.

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In a bowl, whisk together 2 egg yolks. Gradually whisk milk mixture into yolks and transfer yolk mixture back into saucepan. Simmer mixture, whisking, for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/4 of a cup of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest until butter is melted.

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In another bowl with an electric mixer, beat 2 egg whites with 1/8 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Beat in 1/4 of a cup of sugar in a slow stream, beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

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Pour filling into shell and spread meringue on top, covering filling completely, sealing it to pastry. Draw meringue up into peaks and bake pie in middle of oven (at 350° F) until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes.

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The pie turned out great! I have never made meringue or any type of custard pie filling so I was slightly amazed that it turned out as well as it did. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again soon.

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