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Friday, March 9, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie - 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #38 Darina Allen

Lemon Meringue Pie
the "Gourmet" prompt...
38. Darina Allen- Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School on a 100–acre organic farm in County Cork, Ireland, has reached far into food culture since it began in 1983. Everyone still wants to take classes there.

Darina is a teacher, food writer, newspaper columnist, and cookbook author who has a television program and is the owner of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, Ireland which is situated on an organic farm.  She graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology with a major in Hotel Management.  She is also the founder of the first Farmer's Markets in Ireland and regularly involved in setting up new ones.  I'm not sure if it's still true, but in June of '07 she was the President of East Cork Convivium of Slow Food and the councillor for Ireland's Slow Food Movement.
Lemon Meringue Pie
She has won numerous awards which include Business Woman of the Year, Cooking Teacher of the Year from IACP, Waterford Wedgwood Hospitality Award, and was a recipient of an Honorary Degree from University of Ulster.  For more information on Darina and her family and their cookery school, check out the Ballymaloe website.

For years, Ballymaloe has been a foodie destination spot for myself (as well as countless others).  With this in mind and the time of year it is, you'd think I'd have made some lovely Irish food to celebrate Darina's week in "the 50".  And I almost did.  Her A Year at Ballymaloe Cookery School is a beautiful book that I've checked out numerous times from the library over the last four or five years.  There's so many things I want to make from it.  However, I checked out her Easy Entertaining book a few weeks ago and filled it so full of bookmarks that I decided I needed (yes, needed) to go with something from that one this time.

Plus, spring time always makes me think "light" and lemony desserts.  And I just so happened to have a craving for meringue in some form.  So...lemon meringue pie it was.  And I'm not the least bit sorry that this is what I chose to make.  The lemon curd was smooth and tangy and oh-so-puckery while the meringue was light fluffy with a thin, crisp shell on the outside.  Perfect for spring.  Or breakfast with a cup of coffee.  I'm a pie and coffee girl.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Smooth, tangy lemon curd tucked under a tall, fluffy meringue with a thin, crisp shell.
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Lemon Meringue Pie
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 90 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian lemons eggs Easter pie spring

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
    for pastry dough:
    • 4 ounces all-purpose flour
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 ounces butter, cold and cut into cubes
    • 1 large egg, separated (beaten separately)
    • 1-2 tablespoons ice water
    for the lemon curd:
    • 2 ounces butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • finely grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
    for the meringue:
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1 cup sugar
    pastry dough
    Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the butter cubes and rub with your fingertips. When mixture resembles coarse crumbs, stop.

    Stir in the egg yolk, using a fork. Add just enough ice water to bring the dough together. Form into a disk using your hands. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for ~30 minutes.

    Roll dough out large enough to fit into an 8" or 9" pie pan. Fit it in and refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F. Line chilled pie shell with parchment or foil and fill with dried beans or baking beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove paper and beans and paint the pie shell with a thin layer of the reserved egg white (discard remaining). Put back in oven and bake to seal for another 3 minutes. Set aside.

    Reduce oven heat to 250° F.

    lemon curd
    Melt butter in a saucepan over very low heat in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Very slowly, in a slow, thin stream, whisk the eggs and yolk into the mixture. Continue to whisk over the lowest heat possible until the mixture is nape (coats the back of a spoon).
    Pour mixture into a bowl and set aside. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

    Beat the egg whites in a clean, deep bowl until they soft peaks form. Slowly pour in sugar while continueing to beat whites until thick and shiny and stiff.

    assembling and baking
    Pour the curd into the prepared pie shell. Carefully scoop the meringue on top of the curd using a large spoon (alternately, you could pipe it on in a pretty manner).

    Bake for 1 hour until the meringue is crisp on the outside. (Alternately, you could cook it in an oven that has been preheated to 400° F for just 7 minutes, resulting in a meringue that is slightly colored, crisp on the outside, and soft underneath.)

    Serve warm or cool. Store at room temperature with a large bowl inverted over the top of the pan. Eat within one or two days.

    Meringue recipe could be halved for a thinner layer of meringue topping.

    -adapted from Easy Entertaining by Darina Allen
    Lemon Meringue Pie
    In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
    Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?