Mes petits chats des bois,
Today I wanted to talk about stubbornness... You know, I’m just like you and there are times where I simply want to quit, because it doesn’t work, because it really gets on my nerves when it’s not like I had imagined it, because it doesn’t look like the image I’d seen etc. And I could go on... And a few times ago, yesterday actually, I decided to make a lemon meringue pie with beautiful meringue peaks on top like a snow-covered fir tree forest (very seasonal...) but, and I don’t really know why, it was awful, a sort of lemon pie decorated by a 6-years-old kid who’d have had hooves instead of hands... I wasn’t quite happy with myself, the cooking modjo had left me... So who was to blame ? A lack of dexterity ? An italian meringue too whipped ? A leaking pastry bag ? I don’t know but I was really disappointed. Yes, a lemon pie can makes me completely down.
Then I made myself a tea, and I stared at my mixing bowl for a while, I had achieved a beautiful, dense and shiny meringue and I wasn’t about to admit defeat just yet, I turned over the problem in my mind and thought:
- The perfect lemon pie: it’s not me, I’m not order, I’m madness, and if you want to see a perfect lemon pie you go to Ladurée.
- I had an express mini brainstorming: meringue, ethereal, frothing, egg whites whipped up, mountain, glacier, CLOUD...
- I thought about the lemon pie that have shaken me in my life (it can mess with your life, a lemon pie...) I thought about an amazing one from Le Loir dans la Théière...
- I thought about my sister (meringue addict).
And I told myself, try it! Bottom line is if I hadn’t stop for two minutes to think and make myself a tea (thank you Mai for this mantra: «make yourself a tea make yourself a tea make yourself a tea to repeat 3 times...) you probably wouldn't have seen this lemon pie around here, it’d have ended down our stomach for the enjoyment of our tastebuds. But I am very happy that I showed it to you and photographed it. If it wasn’t incredibly sticky I’d want to sprawl on it. I like it, my cloudy lemon pie, not perfect but more like me. I think that it is sometimes important to let go off things and to do those we really want to, even if it’s not like we imagined it, there is no problem but only solutions...
To do this pie you will need, for the short pastry:
- 150 g of superfine sugar,
- 250 g of flour,
- 125 g of softened butter,
- 1 egg.
For the lemon mixture:
- 3 lemons, juices and zests,
- 5 battered eggs,
- 150 g of sugar,
- 15 cl of whipping cream.
For the meringue:
- 8,5 cl of water,
- 280 g of superfine sugar,
- 5 egg whites.
First of all, sieve the flour into a mixing bowl, then cut the softened butter into it and start working the dough with the tips of your fingers. Dig a little hole into the pastry and add the egg and sugar into it, keep kneading until it gets homogeneous but don’t knead it too much. Make a ball and leave aside in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven at 180°C and roll out the short pastry, put it into your pie pan and bake it blind for 15-20 minutes with ceramic cooking beads to prevent the base from rising. Meanwhile put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat them together for a few minutes until you have a smooth mixture, you can use an electric beater to help you. Then pour the mixture into you pastry case and bake for 20-25 minutes, you need your cream just set.
While the lemon mixture is quietly setting in your oven, let’s do the italian meringue! If you have a KitchenAid robot kind of thing, then it’s going to be too easy, otherwise ask for some help because with two people it’s twice as much fun. Let me explain, while you’re whipping up your egg whites with your electric beater, boil the water and the sugar together in a pan (regularly clean the walls of your pan with a wet brush). When the mix gets to 125°C, put it off the heat and pour it on the egg whites while beating them (that’s why it’s better if you are two people). And keep beating for 10 more minutes until the mix cools down, but it’s really worth it!
Once your pie is baked, you can start decorating it. If you feel like you’re Michael Angelo you can take your pastry bag, or if like me you’re in a I-sniffed-sugar mode, take a spatula and sculpt a romantic cloud... When the deco is done, put your pie under the grill at 250°C for less than a minute. And enjoy !