Day two and on to making the filling for the lemon pie. The thickener The Professional Pastry Chef recommends is cornstarch which is no problem for me. This is very traditional when it comes to lemon meringue pie. If you are looking for a great recipe, this one by Anna Olson is very similar and I have made it before! Yummy.
I decided to forego the meringue though, there is an entire section written about this controversial procedure and they admit there is no fool-proof way of making the topping. Considering it was ridiculously humid, I thought it best to not waste the egg whites and work with whipping cream instead.
I thought I would have to juice a ton of lemons for the filling but it only took two to have enough juice the recipe called for. Considering you are supposed to get 3/4 of a cup for two pies, it was a little challenging measuring out 1/2 a 3/4 of a cup but it looked right to me.
You make the filling over low heat on the stove which takes a lot of time and patience while you are constantly whisking. I admit that I raised the temperature up after a while because I have an electric stove, not a gas stove, its heat is less direct. I know my stove, there was no way this was going to come to a boil on low…never!
Once the cornstarch, water and sugar syrup begins to boil you add the butter. How weird! I usually do this at the end. I stuck with the recipe and added the butter. I tempered in the eggs by adding a little of the syrup to the egg yolks to bring them up to temperature without scrambling them. I added the lemon juice and zest and heated the filling for a few minutes over low heat.
There is that beautiful and all-natural yellow colour from the lemons that I adore. I filled the empty pie shell with the thick beautiful yellow goo, covered the top with plastic wrap and let it chill over night:
Day 3 after letting the filling set for 24 hours. The piece of pie came out of the pie perfectly but it was 32C in my house without the humidex which has been crazy high and as I set up the shot I watched my pie and whipped cream melt before my eyes! Still, a gorgeous pie but it is more like “lemon mess pie” than anything else.
As a result of working on this pie for three days and having it be destroyed by Mother Nature before I have a chance to even photograph it, I am going to put baking aside for now. Once fall turns up and there are crisp apples just waiting to be baked into crumbles and pies I will consider going through all of this again. For now, fuck it! Bring on the homemade ice cream, the sorbets and milkshakes.
Why fight Mother Nature? It’s too humbling. Man, am I ever glad I didn’t try making the meringue topping! Instead I am going to freeze the egg whites and once the heat and humidity pass on I will try making meringues once again.