Sunday, 2 October 2016

Lemon Meringue Pie with Thyme Pastry

The wonderful flavour combination of lemon and thyme is married together in the classic dessert of lemon meringue pie, with its tart lemony filling, crisp marshmallowy meringue and thyme infused pastry. 

Lemon meringue pie with thyme pastry
 
Thyme and pie wait for no man (woman or child)!

Lemon Meringue Pie is such a classic dessert with its sweet buttery pastry, tart lemon curd filling topped with sweet meringue peaks and is one of those desserts which I fondly recall from my childhood.  They were so popular in our family.  When mum made one to round off our Sunday lunch we'd always secretly hope that there'd be some left for a second portion...simply to ensure that it was as delicious as our taste buds had led us to believe, you understand!



So, when this week's episode of GBBO called for the remaining bakers to make a Citrus Meringue for their signature bake I almost felt the need to turn the oven on and split the eggs there and then for a late night bake and feast!   But given that Mr E doesn't care for meringue (Huh?!  How can somebody not like meringue?!)  I also decided to attempt Paul's technical challenge of herby fougasse, which I shall share with you soon.  The 3 tiered showstopper floral cake was discounted as being too much for our small household. 

Lemon meringue pie with thyme pastry

Now, given that this week's episode was botanical week, a first for GBBO, the bakers' citrusy meringue had to include anything which grows.  One of the bakers used coconut to compliant her citrus filled meringue pie, another incorporated ginger whilst others used herbs.  Wanting to use the popular flavour of lemon in our meringue pie, I briefly searched the encyclopedia which we have at our finger tips and learnt that a whole host of flavours work with lemon from apricot, elderberry and pear, through to anise, cardamom, ginger, mint and vanilla, as well as almonds, pecans and pistachios.  But the flavour which grabbed my attention was thyme, being straightforward to incorporate into the pastry of our Lemon Meringue Pie.  The fresh thyme leaves were finely chopped and included in the sweet pastry crumbs before the egg was added.

The meringue itself was made using the Swiss technique, the method favoured by Jane who described it as being 'stable and crisps up nicely'.  James Martin, one of my favourite pastry chefs, wrote in his book Sweet that Swiss meringue is 'much firmer than its classic cousin, and is ideal as a covering for Lemon Meringue Pies, Baked Alaskas, and Ice Cream Cakes'.  Given these perfect description, it was clear that Swiss meringue was the appropriate route to take.  Plus, having already tried Swiss meringue in my Strawberry and Basil Pavlova back in the summer I was aware that it is a relatively straightforward technique which results in a thick meringue and retains its piped shape really well.

Lemon meringue pie with thyme pastry

And the result?  Delicious!  Scrumptious!  Yummy!  Well it was a lemon meringue pie after all!  Admitedly the thyme wasn't evident in every bite, but in those bites when it was present the flavour combination was absolutely delicious.  Although thyme is usually used in savoury meals, I would certainly recomend using a pinch of the herb in your next bake!

Let's get to it and baaaake!






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Lemon Meringue Pie with Thyme Pastry
The wonderful flavour combination of lemon and thyme is married together in this classic dessert, with its tart lemony filling, crisp marshmallowy meringue and thyme infused pastry.
Details
Hands on time: Cook time:     Yield: 1 x 22cm pie (serves 10)

  Specific Equipment
  1 x 22cm loose bottom deep fluted flan tin.
  Hand held electric beaters
Ingredients
For the Sweet Pastry (Pate Sucree) 
  • 275g Plain Flour
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 100g Butter, unsalted & chilled
  • 2 Eggs, Large, loosley beaten
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves, finely chopped
For the Lemon Curd Filling 
  • 3 Lemons (ideally unwaxed)
  • 60g Cornflour
  • 450ml Water
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 112g Caster Sugar
For the Swiss Meringue
  • 4 Egg White
  • 225g Caster Sugar

Method
1. Make the pastry. Place the flour, icing sugar and cubed chilled butter into a good sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar between your thumb and finger tips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the finely chopped thyme leaves. Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add the beaten egg. Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough. You may need to add a little cold water to fully bring the mixture together. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Shape the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.2. Line the flan tin. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry out until it is nice and thin, about 2mm. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin, lift it up (using the pin) and place into the flan tin. Gently tease the pastry into the case so that it sits into the edges well and picks up the shape of the fluted sides. If the pastry tears, patch it with surplus pastry. If the pastry overhangs the sides of the flan tin excessively, use a pair of clean scissors to trim off some of the excess. Use a fork to gently prick the pastry base. Place into the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.3. Pre-heat the oven to 190c / 170 fan / Gas 5. Place a flat baking sheet onto the middle shelf which is large enough to house the flan tin.4. Blind bake the pastry. Remove the lined flan tin from the fridge. Cut a sheet of grease proof paper large enough to cover the flan tin. Scrunch it up and open it out. Gently lay it on top of the pastry, easing it into the edges. Weigh the paper down with baking beans or uncooked rice. Place into the oven (on the heated baking tray) and cook for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes, remove it from the oven and place on cooling tray. Use a small sharp knife to carefully trim the excess pastry from the edge of the tart. Place the pastry case back into the oven, with the baking beans/rice and cook for a further 4 minutes. Remove the baking beans / rice and baking paper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pastry case from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Keep the baking tray in the oven.5. Reduce the oven temperature to 160c / 140 Fan / Gas 3.6. Meanwhile make the lemon curd filling. Mix the egg yolks and sugar together and set aside. Wash the lemons thoroughly, especially if they are waxed. Finely grate the zest and juice of the lemons. Place the cornflour into a heavy based pan. Add the lemon zest & juice and mix together to make a smooth paste. Add the boiling water, stiring all of the time. Set the pan over a medium heat and cook until it is very thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly. Replace the pan back onto the heat. Continue stirring allowing the mixture to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 7. Prepare to make the Swiss meringue. Ensure that your bowl and electric beaters are scrupulously clean and free of any grease. Part fill a pan with water and sit the bowl over it to make a bain marie. Ensure the water in the ban doesn't touch the base of the bowl. Set the pan over a medium flame. 8. Make the Swiss meringue. Add the egg whites and all of the sugar to the bowl. Use the beaters to combine the sugar and egg whites. Continue beating. The egg whites will soon start to thicken, turn white and increase in volume. Constantly whip the egg whites to prevent them from cooking on the base of the pan. You're aiming for the sugar to completely dissolve into the meringue mixture. Test this by rubbing a little of the meringue between your fingers - it should no longer feel grainy. This stage will take around 8-10 minutes. Place a piece of kitchen roll or a clean tea-towel onto your work surface. Once the sugar has fully dissolved remove the bowl from the pan and sit it on the prepared area. Continue beating the meringue until it has completely cooled. The meringue will thicken even more and will be glossy and shiny.9. Assemble the meringue pie. Stir the lemon curd filling and pour into the pastry case. Use the back of a spoon to level off the curd mixture if necessary. 10. Top with the Swiss meringue. EITHER spoon the meringue onto the lemon curd filling and spread it out to the pastry edges. Use a knife to create peaks in the meringue. OR, fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle (I use a star nozzle) with the meringue. Starting from the pastry edge, pipe rosettes all over the lemon curd filling. Add extra rosettes to fill and exposed lemon filling, and allowing the height of the meringue to build up. Wipe away any meringue which touches the metal flan case as it will act as a glue and make it difficult to remove from the case once baked. 11. Bake the lemon meringue pie. Place the flan tin into the oven (on the preheated baking tray) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. You may need to rotate the tart after 15 minutes of baking. The pie is ready when the meringue is light golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes in the flan tin. Remove from the tin carefully (perhaps using a cake transfer to lift it off the base) and place it onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Notes:  a) The quantity of pastry made here is likely to result in a surplus.  The excess pastry could be used in another bake - perhaps some lemon curd tarts or a lemon curd turn-over.  It can also freeze well, once wrapped thoroughly.  Alternatively, halve the pastry ingredients and roll your pastry thinly to successfully line the tart.  b)  Consider using lemon thyme instead of thyme in the pastry.  c)  Please be careful not to knock your bowl and pan of hot water over whilst beating the Swiss meringue.  d)  As well as using your fingers to esure that the sugar has has fully dissolved into the meringue,  you can also use a thermometer to ensure it has reached the correct temperature.  It is ready when it reaches a temperature of 73c / 163f, though I didn't use a thermometer.
 















Pin Lemon Meringue Pie with Thyme Pastry for later

This recipe for lemon meringue pie sees the tart flavour of lemon married with thyme for a twist on the classic dessert.




This post has been shared with:

Great Bloggers Bake Off hosted by Jenny over at Mummy Mishaps

The Bake Off Bake Along co-hosted by Amanda at Rhyme and Ribbons and Ala at This Particular

Casa Costello

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26 comments:

  1. Angela what a glorious looking lemon meringue pie! As you may have read in my cake post, I almost did a lemon and thyme flavoured cake, but went with basil in the end. I have never added them to a sweet dish, but i can imagine how nice it tasted having had lemon thyme before, and now knowing how nice basil was in a lemon flavoured sponge. Delicious and thank you for linking up xx

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    1. Thank you Jenny, I can fully recommend a little bit of thyme (or even lemon thyme) in a sweet bake. I've got a few ideas already for some herb based sweet bakes.
      Angela x

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  2. It looks perfect. Thyme pastry sounds like a great idea, I will try it.

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    1. Ooh do Anca, it's great and I can imagine it'd be lovely in a short crust or even puff pastry in a savoury bake too.
      Thanks for your lovely comment,
      Angela x

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  3. Your lemon meringue pie looks scrumptious!! I have never made swiss meringue but may give it a try since yours turn out so perfect. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe - definitely pinning for the future :)

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    1. Ooh you must Lorna, Swiss meringue is fabulous. It gets soooo thick and is perfect for meringues and pavlovas. Just be mindful whilst your whipping it over the bain marie though! I'd love to hear how you get on with it :-)
      Angela x

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  4. What beautiful meringue topping on on your lemon meringue pie, it looks so pretty. I will have to try making Italian meringue at some point. Love the sound of the thyme in the pastry too,

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    1. Thank you Lucy :-) I've yet to try Italian meringue too, I really should give it a go! The thyme was absolutely fab, not noticeable in every mouthful but that made each bite that little bit different which was nice!
      Angela x

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  5. Wow - I love your meringue! So pretty and what a fab idea to include thyme - which is absolutely one of my favourite herbs (though I do usually put it in savoury dishes!). Can I have Mr E's slice, then, if he doesn't want it? ;-) Eb x

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    1. Hahaha I would have very happily packaged up for you Eb, but my ou be love of meringue got the better of me and...well....it was eaten by me! I wasn't too sure what to exect from the the thyme in a sweet dish but it was actually really really good and something I'm looking to work on in a suitable bake soon.
      Angela x

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  6. Your curd looks perfect! Literally mouth-watering! x

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  7. This makes me want to bake more! My sister is the better baker in the family:)

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    1. Ooh you should give it a go Lisa. Of course if you didn't want to make every element from scratch you could buy some ready made pastry.
      Angela x

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  8. Oooh your lemon meringue looks perfect! I need to make one! x #CookBlogShare

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  9. This sounds (and looks) stunning. Love the idea of using thyme in a sweet dish - must experiment with that. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogSharr

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    1. Ooh do Mandy, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...or at least I hope you will be. I only used a small amount in the pastry and although I couldn't detect it in every mouthful it was absolutely lovely when I came across it. I'd love to hear what you think if you give thyme a go in a sweet bake.
      Angela x

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  10. This looks beautiful! I would not have thought of using thyme. #bakeoftheweek

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    1. Thank you Louise, the use of thume was all thanks to google :-)
      Angela x

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  11. That is one amazing looking pie. The Thyme pastry sounds excellent too, I love thyme.

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    1. Aw thankyou Jane :-) I'd definitely try thyme pastry too then given that you love the herb, it makes such a lovely change and I'm more than sure it would be fab in savoury bakes too :-)
      Angela x

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  12. Thyme pastry! So clever. Your meringue looks perfect :)

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    1. Awe thankyou Amy, it was realy easy to do and surprisingly worked really well with the sharp lemon flavour :-)
      Angela x

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  13. Ooh thyme pastry sounds so exotic - What a brilliant idea. Thanks for joining in with #BakeoftheWeek - You are one of the featured bakes for this week! x

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    1. Thankyou Helen, it was really great, such a yummy combination :-) Aw thankyou, I'll pop over and have a read :-)
      Angela x

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