• Tag Archives meringue
  • Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

    2014-03-16 13.52.35

    Perusing the cheap bookshops nets some fantastic bargains at times and we love books both old and new. So I’m having a snoop and find this cook book for the whopping price of £2.99 called Bite Me. The title drew me in and after a quick flick it was in my bag heading home…paid for of course! So this book is full of great recipes and each one has a little anecdote from the 2 sisters who wrote the book.

    So on with the recipe

    Pie Crust…buy a ready made one….or….

    175g plain flour
    1/4 t salt
    115 g butter cut into cubes and chilled
    4 T ginger ale…yup ginger ale…honestly
    1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

    Preheat the oven to 200c. Pop flour, butter and salt into a food processor and whiz it up on pulse until it looks like coarse crumble. Put the lemon juice and ginger ale into a cup and mix together. While the food processor is running add the liquid and process until it magically turns into a ball of dough! should take about 10 seconds. Carefully take it out of the processor, watch the blades as they are bloody sharp and taken my blood a few times! Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough about an inch wider than the diameter of your pan. I use an 8″ pie pan. Place the rolled out dough into the pan and then flute the edges (make them look pretty) Line the dough with baking paper and fill with baking beans and blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Take the beans out (they’ll be hot!) and prick the base of the crust with a fork and pop back in until the crust is a loverly golden brown. About another 10 – 12 minutes. Let it cool a bit before putting the lemon filling in. turn the oven down to 180c.

    The filling….lovely, tart, lemon filling!

    4 large egg yolks
    200 g caster sugar
    45g corn flour
    1/4 t sea salt
    350 ml water
    125 ml lemon juice…fresh is preferred…about 3 lemons…what I do is juice 3 lemons and then if if’s not enough I top up with the bottled stuff. I have used all bottled stuff and it’s not as nice but still enjoyable.
    the zest of the 3 lemons you squeezed!
    50 g butter

    Separate the eggs. Put the whites aside and put the yolks into a bowl, whisk em up and put the yolks to the side. Grab a medium saucepan and put the sugar, corn flour and salt in and whisk them to combine. Stir in the water and lemon juice until it’s smooth and heat over a medium heat until it thickens. Don’t panic that it’s not that lovely sunny yellow. That happens at the next part! Gently pour a bit of the hot mixture into the egg yolks stirring constantly so you don’t end up with lemon scrambled eggs….yuck! When it’s combined pour the egg yolk mix back into the saucepan and whisk it all up to a lovely smooth sunny yellow mixture. Bring to a slow boil and stir constantly for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and mix in the butter and lemon zest until the butter is all melted and the zest evenly distributed. Put to one side to cool slightly.

    The mile high meringue part!

    6 egg whites….save the 2 yolks from the filling and use them somewhere else…as an egg wash for scones perhaps? (they can be frozen for later use)
    1/2 t cream of tartar…NOT tartar sauce!
    150 g caster sugar

    Get a squeaky clean bowl and beaters…I use glass bowls for this and if I’m concerned at all about grease, which ruins meringues by the way, I’ll rub everything down with lemon juice. Whip the egg whites up until they form soft peaks. Whip in the sugar and cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks. If you can turn the bowl upside down and not end up with a mess it’s spot on!

    Assembly

    Pour the slightly cooled filling into the pie crust. Then scoop the lovely soft meringue onto the bright yellow filling. Start at the edges so that when it goes back into the oven it doesn’t shrink away from the sides of the crust and covers it completely. Pile it on and pile it up1 Pop it into the oven until the meringue is golden and lovely…about 10-12 minutes. Let cool for at least an hour then dig in! Slice it carefully to reveal that sunny yellow lemon…mmmmmmmmmmm…one of my all time favorites!



  • Lovely Lemon Macarons

    2014-03-10 15.52.03

    So after the success of the Chocolate Gingerbread Macarons, I was eager to give another flavour a go…so with the lovely sunshine…I decided on lemon!

    80 g egg whites
    25 g caster sugar
    180 g fine icing sugar
    100 g ground almonds
    zest of a lemon
    yellow food colouring…just to make it extra purty :)

    So whip up the egg whites and when foamy slowly add the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. If you are using paste colouring like I did I added it at the foamy stage. It will look a lovely sunny yellow.

    Now you have options here….either put the icing sugar, almonds and lemon zest into a food processor and whip it up or just put them in a bowl and whisk to make sure all is mixed throughly and evenly distributed. The ones in the photo are done without using a food processor as I really was being lazy and couldn’t be bothered getting the processor out or washing more than just a bowl!

    Fold the dry into the meringue until it is evenly mixed and flows like lava…if you pop some onto a plate and it flattens it’s ready!

    Make a template for the size macarons you want, put the template on the baking tray and put a piece of baking parchment over the top.

    Now grab a piping bag or make your own out of parchement…not something I can do…I’ve tried and it ends up a bloody mess! My little tip here is to fold the end of the bag over and put the bag into a large drinking glass and fold the top of the bag over the glass. Then fill away!

    Now when you pick the full piping bag up, the macaron batter will start to flow so you need to be prepared to work fast! Put the tip of the bag in the middle of the circle and squeeze until it fills the circle. When you’ve used up all the batter leave the macarons on the counter for at least 30 minutes until a shell forms and the batter no longer sticks to your finger when you touch it. Make sure you don’t leave the template on the baking tray!

    Heat up the oven to 140 c and chill out…when the shells have formed on the macarons then pop em in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes turn them around and give em another 10. To test for doneness push the top of the macaron and if it squashes it’s not quite done so pop em back in for a couple of minutes and test again. Be careful not to overdo them.

    When you take them out whip the parchment gently off the baking tray and let them cool on the counter…when completely cool carefully remove them from the parchment. Now I used ready made lemon curd and strawberry jam in the middle..you can make your own or I thought maybe a white chocolate ganache? When my partner tried them his comment was “Oh my god…it’s just like a lemon meringue pie!” Job well done on my part then!



  • Gingerbread Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

    2014-03-05 21.01.36-2

    Ok….so what’s all the hype about? I’ve always heard that macarons are really difficult to make so I’ve never tried to make them. So after having egg white left over from making the creme brulee I thought why not? So I took on the challenge, rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in!

    200g fine icing sugar
    112g ground almonds
    3 large egg whites (100g)
    35g caster sugar
    1/2 t powdered ginger
    2t cocoa powder

    Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a big bowl (big bowls are good as icing sugar dust gets bloody everywhere!) Now add the ginger and cocoa to this mix and whisk it together til it’s all evenly distributed.

    Push to one side and get a decent size bowl and make sure it’s grease free….I have a medium sized glass bowl I use all the time when making meringues…got it from Morrison’s for about £2! For this amount of egg white I use a hand mixer, if I was doing more egg whites then I’d use my stand mixer.

    Whip these up and when they are foamy slowly add the caster sugar and then whip these guys up until they are thick and glossy and loverly! They are done when you can hold the bowl over your head and if you don’t end up with an egg white hair conditioning treatment then they are done :)

    Now comes the deciding factor in how they turn out….gently fold the egg white into the dry mix. Turn the bowl and lift the spatula through and keep repeating until it’s thoroughly and evenly mixed.DO NOT be tempted to use a mixer…this needs to be done with a spatula or you’ll beat the air out of the whites. To tell when it’s ready….it should roll off the spoon and flow like molten lava. If you drop some onto a plate and jiggle it it will flatten down. If you don’t get flat then you’ll have to fold some more. Now draw some circles on some white paper in the diameter you want your macaron. Ours were about 4 cm. Then get your baking tray, put your template on the tray and put some baking parchment over it.

    Get a piping bag and either use a plain nozzle with about a 1 cm hole tip or do what I did and just cut the piping bag and don’t use a nozzle. Fill your piping bag, now be careful as this will start to flow out right away….my tip here is fold the end over so nothing can escape, then when you pick up the piping bag the mix will start to flow and you have a bit of hang time before it’s everywhere!

    Now you need to work fairly quickly…hold the bag over the centre of the circle and gently squeeze….when it’s nearly at the edges of the template, pull up and move on to the next one…keep going until the bag is empty. I got enough to make about 12 full ones…24 discs in total. Give the tray a gentle jiggle and put to one side. Get the oven heating up to 140 c and go make a brew and grab a magazine, catch up on Facebook, have a shower…..do whatever ya like for about 30 minutes until there is a kind of shell on top of the macaron. When you have the shell then you can pop them into the oven….make sure you take the paper template out…very carefully! Don’t let this go into the oven. Carefully pop the trays into the oven.

    In about 10 minutes open the oven and turn the trays around and then give it about another 10 minutes and check for doneness, if you gently touch the top and they jiggle…if the top and bottom move independantly then they aren’t ready. Pop them back in and give them a couple of minutes more.

    When they are done take them out of the oven and immediately take them off the hot trays and slide the parchment onto the counter. If you leave them on the trays then they will keep cooking. Now as much as you want to poke prod and sample them they must be left to cool completely! Use a metal spatula and very carefully take them off the parchment.

    Now for the fun part…preparing the filling and making the sandwiches. I used a dark chocolate ganache for the filling for this one.

    100 g dark chocolate…if you can get the Montezuma Chocolate with Ginger get that one as it’s yummy!
    100 ml double cream

    Heat up the double cream and while it’s heating up break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Sample a bit of course :) When the cream is very hot but not boiling…take off the heat and pour over the chocolate pieces and mix thoroughly until completely smooth. Let cool until a nice creamy consistency and it’s cool enough to spread on the macarons.

    Now pair up your macarons so they are all ready to go. Take a teaspoon or put in a piping bag if you can be bothered and put the ganache on one cookie and top with the other cookie and GENTLY squish together and voila…a macaron…repeat until all done…and leftovers are cooks perks for testing of course!
    Dust with cocoa if you fancy!