After unsuccessfully making two edible banana cream pies, I decided, that was it! It was time to get serious about my baking. I pulled out my giant copy of The Professional Pastry Chef and promised myself that I would follow the directions to the T! Picking out the pie was a little trickier. I really wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb pie because strawberries were on sale but when I saw this $7 Lemon Meringue Pie at the grocery store, I knew I had to give it a shot. Seven bucks eh? I don’t think so! I had a bag of lemons at home and knew this was the pie I was going to try making, and, well, the book didn’t have a recipe for strawberry rhubarb.
When you start to get “serious” about baking, you start using scales and pulling out your calculator. Professional bakers rely on weight and not cups when they create. Baking is a lot about science and takes humidity in the air into account and how that impacts the dough… Thankfully I had my digital scale ready to go. I used the calculator because the recipe is for batch baking and I just wanted to make one pie crust so I had to divide the grams for my individual crust.
The book also calls for using your hands which surprised me. I usually use a pastry cutter and it was a very warm day but I followed the directions, I told you I was taking this more seriously. The only thing I changed (and the book said it was “allowed”) was to replace the lard with shortening. With my fingers I pinched the butter and shortening into the salted flour until they were the size of hazelnuts, or, well, kind of. I used iced cold water to bind it together but this felt like cookie dough and came together really easily so not much water was required. Must have been a humid day!
I shaped the dough into a ball, covered it with plastic wrap and then squished it into a disk. You can see the pieces of butter still in the dough so it is going to be flaky! I fell asleep on the couch and thought an hour had passed but it was only half an hour so the dough was still quite sticky. Damn! Next time I will use my timer. I managed to roll it out, moved it to the pie plate and crimped the edges. To really chill it this time I put it in the freezer for half an hour.
I docked the bottom and blind baked it at 375F for 15 minutes with my pie weights (brown rice) inside a sheet of aluminum foil. I removed the pie weights and continued to bake it for 10 minutes and it looks good!
I am still not sure I want to add the meringue component to the pie. Yesterday was hot but today is going to be a scorcher so I rushed to get the pie crust done yesterday so if it is unbearably hot today I can skip the meringue and top with whipped cream instead.
So far, so good. I managed to follow the directions and make a pretty pie crust. Today I will be taking on the real homemade lemon filling complete with egg yolks and butter! I will not be afraid…!!!