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Thursday, July 28, 2011

GF Lemon Meringue Pie

Got a hankerin' for some good old fashioned lemon meringue pie.  However, when you have to eat gluten free, you can't just pick up a pie at the grocery store or order it at a restaurant.  I'd been thinking about it for some I consulted my Gluten-Free Baking Classics (2nd edition) cook book by Annalise G. Roberts for a suitable crust recipe.  This is the Tart Shell recipe, which tasted great and was easier to make than a traditional crust - no rolling.  Just cut the butter into the flour mixture and press the mixture into your pie pan.  Ms. Roberts suggests baking the shell one day and filling it the next to breaks up the work load, and avoid having the oven on for such a long time.  Being a hot day, I heeded her advice.
Betty Crocker provided the recipes for the filling and meringue.  The filling recipe called for lemon peel.  Having had bad experiences with orange peel and lemon peel in the past, I bought some at Penzy's Spices so I wouldn't get a strong aftertaste.  I considered omitting it...but usually don't change a recipe the first time I make it.  So in it went.
Ya know what's funny about spreading meringue over pie filling?  The filling is fluid, so it smooshes around under your spatula.  Its much easier to spread meringue from the edge to the center, than the other way around.  That's probably why they pipe the meringue on commercially prepared lemon meringue pies.
A couple hours after it came out of the oven, an unexpected visitor arrived - which gave me the perfect excuse to cut into my pie.  It was still a tiny bit warm and extremely lemony.  Incredibly flavorful - unlike any commercially prepared lemon meringue pie I've ever had.
The next day I had a few more visitors, and we polished off the pie.  By then it had chilled overnight.  I was a little dissappointed that the filling didn't firm up more.  After trying it a second time, I realized I should have omitted the lemon peel.  It left just the tiniest little aftertaste. 
So if you're using a Betty Crocker (new and revised in 1981 - LOL) cook book to make a 9" lemon meringue pie filling, add 1 more TBSP cornstarch, one less TBSP melted butter and omit the lemon peel.  Though making the shell, filling and meringue from scratch was quite a bit of work, it was truly worth the time and effort! 
Later this summer I intend to try the chocolate eclair/cream puff shell recipe in the same GF cook book.  More GF baking adventures to follow!  :)

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