Lemon Merginue Pie

THE MOST DELICIOUS OF THE PIES!  Seriously, I’m not a big fan of pie, usually too much dry crust and mushy fruits.  But lemon meringue, there’s something about the sourness of the lemon and the airiness of the meringue that just gets me.  This is from Fine Cooking and they have a good video showing some of the tips here.  I will warn you this takes like four hours from start to finish with a fair amount of attention required, so make it when you have a free afternoon.
Note: The original recipe has you use some gingersnap cookies below the custard to keep the pie crust crisp.  I didn’t do this because I didn’t have gingersnap cookies and I didn’t want to go to the store, and my pie turned out just fine without them.

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Sorry the picture’s a little dark.  It took so long to make the pie it was dark out by the time we were able to eat it.

Serves 1 Pie Lover (1 Pie)
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 Pie Crust

For the Custard
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
5 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about 3 medium lemons)
1/3 cup lemon juice (from those very same lemons)

For the Meringue
5 large egg whites, room temperature (I told you to keep them)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1.Somehow make yourself a cooked pie crust in a buttered 9 inch glass pie plate.

2. In a 3 quart saucepan mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

3. Whisk in 1/4 cup cold water until the mixture is smooth, then mix in another 1 1/4 cups cold water until combined.

4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and the constantly as it starts to boil (a couple large bubbles will form and pop).  The mixture should turn into a semi-translucent gel, total cook time 4-6 minutes.

5. At this point whisk briefly and then mix with a spatula pulling the sides towards the center.  After doing this for one minute, remove the pot from the heat.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly.

7. Gently whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar gel and repeat with another 1/2 cup.

8. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining sugar gel and cook just as before. (4-6 minutes over medium-low until boiling then one minute more).

9. Remove the pot from heat and dot the filling with butter, pushing it below the surface.  Let it stand for a minute to allow the butter to melt.

10. Gently whisk in the lemon juice and zest until smooth.

11. Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth with a spatula.  Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before making the meringue.

Meringue Time!  This is a Swiss meringue which means we are going to cook the egg whites and get a fluffy marshmallow like meringue, but you can feel free to do a classic French meringue by just whipping the hell out of some egg whites and sugar.  Also, to save time and your wrist, this assumes you have a stand mixer.

12. Bring 1/2 inch of water to simmer in a pot that you can makeshift into a double boiler with the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (but don’t put the mixing bowl over the hot water yet).  Turn the burner to low after it starts simmering.

13. In your mixing bowl (off the heat) whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy.

14. Add the sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, whisking for a couple of seconds between each addition.

15. Put the mixing bowl over the hot water and slowly whisk.  You’re not trying to add air yet, just dissolve the sugar and keep the eggs from cooking.

16. After 2-4 minutes the eggs should be warm to the touch and you should not be able to feel any sugar grit in the mixture.

17. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and take the mixing bowl off the heat and put it in your stand mixer.

18. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment.  Slowly increase the speed from low to high over about a minute.  Beat to stiff peaks (3-5 minutes).

19. Spread all of the meringue over the pie with spoon, make sure it anchors to the pie crust the whole way around the pie.  Press down as you go to make sure there are no air pockets.

20. Make fun spiky curls by touching the back of the spoon to the meringue and pulling away.

21. Brown the meringue either in your ovens broiler or with a kitchen torch.  If you broil make sure to rotate it to get the whole thing.

22. Let the whole shabang rest for about an hour to setup and then enjoy.

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Blueberry and Peach Crumble

Summer means blueberry time and here in Texas it also means Fredricksburg peaches.  This recipe puts them both together with a delicious brown sugar crumble topping for a delicious dessert best served with Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.  Make sure to use room temperature fruit so that it bakes evenly.

Serves 6
Blueberry and Peach Crumble
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (1 lb) blueberries, room temperature
3 medium peaches (1 lb), halved, pitted, and sliced 1/2 in thick
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and lightly butter a 9 inch square baking pan.

2. Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp of the salt.

3. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it readily clumps when pressed together.

4. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.

5. Add the blueberries and peaches to the sugar mixture and toss to coat.

6. Spread the fruit mixture into the butter baking pan and cover with the brown sugar crumble.

7. Bake until the fruit is bubbling in the center and the top is crisp and well browned.  It should take about 45 minutes.

8. Cool slightly and serve warm with some ice cream.

Chocolate Ganache Crepes with Grand Marnier Syrup

A classic French dessert.  These crepes are really easy and don’t require any special crepeing tools, just a nonstick skillet.

crepes

Makes 10 or so crepes
Chocolate Ganache Crepes with Grand Marnier Syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs water
1/2 Tbs melted butter

For the Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate

For the Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs Grand Marnier (or more if you want)

1. Beat the eggs, gradually add the flour and sugar, alternating with the milk and water.  Beat with the melted butter till there are no lumps

2. Cook the crepes over medium low heat until cooked through (no need to flip)

3. To make the ganache, boil the cream and add the chocolate, mix until smooth and glossy

4. To make the syrup, boil the water and sugar together, remove from heat and add the grand marnier

5. Spread the ganache on half the crepe, fold in half, spread again, fold in half and drizzle with the syrup

Chocolate Lava Cake

Lynn surprised me with a “you’re making chocolate lava cake for all my friends” party last week.  Never having made them before I valiantly agreed and found this recipe from Ghiradelli.  Not having near enough ramekins either we used a fun cupcake baking sheet so we had flower shaped cakes.

chocolate lave cakeServes 6
Chocolate Lava Cake

Center
2 oz dark chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cake
4 oz dark chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cake flour

1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and cream, whisking to blend, refrigerate a couple hours

2. Form the chocolate into 6 balls and refrigerate for later

3. Heat oven to 400 F

4. Melt the chocolate and butter, whisking gently to blend

5. Mix eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed (with your electric mixer of course) about 5 minutes until thick and light

6. Fold in melted chocolate/butter and the flour.

7. Spoon the batter into 6 ramekins and place a cold chocolate ball in the center of each.

8. Bake 15 minutes and let stand for 5 before serving.

Special K Bars

These are like rice krispie treats on crack, or maybe ketamine?  The peanut butter and chocolate is a way better combination than marshmallow and nothing. My family always makes these around the holidays, and believe it or not they are a recipe from my mom’s college dorm.  A far cry from the slop Georgia Tech served in their dining halls. Warning: they are super rich but totally delicious.

12 Bars (or 24 if you’re Lynn and think they’re too rich)
Special K Bars
6 cups special K cereal
1 cup Karo Syrup
1 cup sugar
12 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
12 oz butterscotch morsels

1. Mix the karo syrup and the sugar together in a large pot and heat to melt the sugar.

2. Fold in the cereal.

3. Press the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish.

4. Melt the chocolate and butterscotch together and spread over the top.

5. Cool in the fridge and enjoy.