Lemon Meringue Pie with Italian Meringue
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Credit: Dani Cone, Owner, High 5 Pie, Seattle
Sizzle, Summer 2012
1¾ cups cold water
3½ cups granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup cornstarch
3 T. flour
¼ t. salt
5 egg yolks
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 T. lemon zest
2 T. sour cream
Pre-baked pie crust
½ cup water
7 egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes
1. In medium saucepan, combine cold water, 1½ cups sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute. In separate bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Quickly temper 2½ cups hot liquid mixture with yolks. Add tempered egg yolks back into hot mixture; whisk. Add lemon juice. Continue whisking; lower heat if mixture boiling rapidly. Continue to whisk until desired thickness is reached. (Please see note 1 at end of recipe). Turn off burner; add lemon zest and sour cream. Whisk to incorporate. Pour mixture into cooled pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap; place in walk-in until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
2. Prepare Italian meringue: In small saucepan, combine remaining sugar and water. Attach candy thermometer to pan. Over medium-high heat, let mixture reach boiling point (do not stir). Brush sides of saucepan with wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization. Once sugar mixture starts to heat to around 200°F, beat egg whites on medium speed. Once syrup reaches softball stage (240°F), remove from heat. (Please see note 2 at end of recipe.) When mixture stops bubbling, pour steady stream of syrup into egg whites with mixer running (avoid whisk attachment and sides of mixer, as it will splatter and harden). Once all incorporated, turn mixer to high; beat until meringue is stiff and glossy and mixing bowl is cool to the touch.
3. To plate: Top with Italian meringue; use blow torch to toast. Let set for up to 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Note 1: After adding eggs, boil for at least 1 additional minute, usually more. Turn heat down; continue whisking until mixture coats back of spoon. When you run your finger across, it will leave a defined line. This usually does not take more than 5 minutes. The mixture needs to look thick, similar to cream pie consistency.
Note 2: Candy thermometer will indicate where softball stage begins and ends, 235°F-240°F. Remove syrup from heat a couple of degrees before softball stage; it will continue to cook and reach proper temperature. Doing this is good if your meringue is not quite ready for the syrup. The egg whites need to be at soft-peak stage when syrup is added.
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