Am I the only one who thinks that May and June are THE most hectic months of the year?
I'm trying to find the time to slow down. Unsuccessfully, I might add.
This is the groundhog who lives under my neighbor's porch. He just waddles around aimlessly, poking through the grass. He seems to have all the time in the world. I'm kinda jealous of his free time.
Clyde has lots of free time.
Gus isn't one for lounging around. His definition of "relax" involves some sort of manual labor.
See the frisbee...
catch the frisbee....
...stick the landing. It's important to stick that landing so he doesn't crash into the rocks.
I think that I'm cut from the same cloth as Gus. My favorite way to relax is to find something that requires focus, something that takes my mind off the myriad little stresses that usually crowd my day.
Am I the only one who thinks spending a couple of hours in the kitchen is a great way to relax?
It definitely is, especially when the end product is a lemon meringue pie!
- "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"...The Offspring
- "She"...Green Day
- "That Time Is Gone"...The dB's
- "Funky But Chic"...New York Dolls
- "Hello Operator"...The White Stripes
- "When She Begins"...Social Distortion
- "Learn to Fly"...Foo Fighters
- "Come Out And Play"...The Offspring
- "Famous Last Words"...My Chemical Romance
- "Re-Education"...Rise Against
Lemon Meringue Pie with Shortbread Crust
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Lemon Filling ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 4 egg whites
- 1/3 cup sugar
Gather your ingredients for the shortbread crust.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the flour...
...and the baking powder. Blend until completely incorporated.
I usually whisk the flour and baking powder together before I add them in, but today I decided to be lazy and just add them directly into the mixer bowl.
One less bowl to wash!
Place the dough into a pie plate. Pat it onto the bottom and up the sides.
Do your best to crimp the top and make it look presentable. I will never win any crimping contests, unless it is a contest for the ugliest pie.
Bake for 15 minutes in your preheated 350-degree oven. It's done when the edges start to brown.
Why a shortbread crust, you ask?
Short answer: I don't like traditional pie crust.
Long answer: Because I don't like pie crust, and even though this is more cookie-like than crust-like, it's my favorite type of pie crust. I would make traditional crust if my kids or husband wanted me to, but they don't. They like the shortbread crust, too!
While the crust is cooling, prepare the lemon filling.
Gather your ingredients.
Zest the lemons.
Then juice the lemons.
Separate the eggs. Put the whites aside for when you make the meringue.
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour...
3 tablespoons cornstarch...
and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Whisk to combine.
Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of water,
and the juice from the 2 lemons.
(See those lemon seeds in the bottom of the cup? I saw them just in the nick of time. Whew!)
Whisk in the zest.
Once you've combined all of your filling ingredients, cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. It will thicken and come to a boil.
See? You can tell by looking at this picture that it has thickened. At this point, turn off the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter until the butter is melted.
Now you are going to add the egg yolks, but they need to be tempered, because if you just whisk them in, they will scramble and cook when they hit the hot liquid.
Not that (ahem) I would know from experience.
To temper the eggs, first I whisk them using the whisk that I had been using to stir the filling. The whisk is still really hot, so it will raise the temperature of the eggs a bit.
Then I whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture from the saucepan.
And then I add the now-warm egg mixture into the hot lemon filling in the saucepan.
Whisk to combine, and turn the heat back on to medium high. Stirring constantly, bring it to a boil and continue to stir it for 2 minutes while it boils and thickens.
Pour the thickened lemon filling into your pie crust. I neglected to take a picture for you.
I took a picture of the dishes overflowing from my sink instead.
And I was so excited earlier (rolls eyes, heavy sarcasm) when I thought that adding flour and baking powder directly into the bowl of my mixer instead of combining it first in a bowl would save me time washing that additional bowl.
In the grand scheme of things, it really didn't matter, did it?
Preheat your oven once more, to 350 degrees.
Okay, let's get started on the meringue. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites.
When they are foamy, gradually add the sugar.
Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Ta-da! Stiff peak!
Spread the meringue over the lemon filling. You could pipe it on if you want to be fancy. The only important thing is that you spread it to the edges so that the filling is completely sealed.
In keeping with my "ugly pie" theme, I opted to spread the meringue rather than pipe it.
Bake the pie in your preheated 350-degree oven about 12 minutes. Your pie is done when the meringue is golden brown.
We sliced up the pie, and I took my slice outside to the deck and made my usual pathetic attempt at a photograph.
After a couple of minutes I realized that nobody else was coming out to join me. So me & my pie slice went back into the house, only to find Mr. Terrific finishing up his second slice, mumbling something like, "I couldn't help it, I had to have another piece."