Friday, March 26, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust

I'm not a huge Lemon Meringue Pie fan....or perhaps I only enjoy it in the spring....a seasonal dessert.  But, I made this recipe for Eric when he came to house to dog sit last weekend, and of course, I tasted a sliver before leaving for our trip.  Well, I must admit, that it was quite delicious, and in the future, I might not just limit its preparation for a particular time of year.  The only change I made was to use walnuts instead of hazelnuts in the crust.  It's obviously more detailed than the ready-made crust and boxed lemon filling that many are used to, but the results are worth it. 

Here's the recipe taken from the Epicurious site:

•1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked
•1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
•1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
•1/2 cup powdered sugar
•1 large egg yolk
•1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
•1/2 teaspoon salt

Grind nuts finely in processor. Add flour and blend well. Add remaining ingredients. Using on/off turns, process just until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm enough to roll, about 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Roll out dough between sheets of waxed paper to 12-inch round, turning over occasionally to lift and smooth paper. Peel off top sheet of paper. Using bottom paper as aid, lift dough and invert into 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Peel off paper. Press dough gently into dish. Fold overhang under; crimp to form decorative edge. Pierce crust all over with fork. Chill 15 minutes. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake until crust is pale golden, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Whisk first 7 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Using whisk, stir over medium heat until filling thickens and just begins to boil, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter. Spoon hot filling into prepared crust.

7 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/8 cups powdered sugar

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large stainless steel bowl at low speed until foamy. Beat in cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon sugar. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat at medium speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 8 minutes. Spread meringue over warm filling, covering completely, sealing meringue to crust edges and mounding in center. Bake pie for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 275°F and continue to bake until meringue is golden brown and set when pie is shaken slightly, about 50 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered.)

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