Lemon Mint Meringue Pie
I got a postcard from New York. Well, a greeting card kind of postcard. Loren, a good friend, and Oscar, his adorable dog, sent it. They used to live here once. On the postcard there’s a beautiful drawing of a classic lemon meringue pie. On the back, there’s a recipe. I love postcards, but this one spoke to my heart.
I really hoped that the recipe would be as wonderful as the postcard, but alas, it was a little disappointing. I didn’t give up and replaced the recipe with one of my own. Now everything is wonderful.
I have to admit, I love this recipe and I used it a few times before with slight changes. I made the same pie with the addition of berries, halva and pistachio, berries once more and now mint.
The postcard’s recipe doesn’t combine mint in the lemon cream, although the drawing is chock full of mint. So I added mint to the lemon cream and I transformed it into a fresh lemon mint cream.
However, the mint flavor wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be after all. I guess I’ll have to make it stronger next time, or maybe add the mint to the cream some other way.
In the meantime, I’m happy the postcard came to life and that all the mint around the pies is justified. Thank Loren! Thanks Oscar! I’ll be waiting for my next delicious postcard. In the meantime, I’m sending you a virtual taste.
175 g flour
20 g almond powder
65 g powdered sugar
2 g salt (½ tsp)
Zest from 1 lemon
100 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
45 g eggs
Lemon Mint Cream
150 g lemon juice
About 15 mint leaves (maybe even more)
210 g sugar
160 g eggs (about 3 eggs)
Zest from 1 large lemon
260 g soft butter
135 g egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
240 g sugar
Pinch of salt
5 pie forms, 11 cm diameter and 2 cm height (bottomless)
A pastry bag fitted with a 16 mm smooth tip
The recipe makes 5 fresh lemony pies
Put flour, almond powder, powdered sugar, salt, lemon zest and butter cubes in the mixer bowl and keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Remove from fridge.
Using the paddle attachment, start mixing at low-medium speed until the batter reaches sand-like consistency. Make sure the butter chunks are as small as possible at the end of the process without melting the butter.
Add the eggs all at once and keep mixing at medium speed until the dough starts to form but is not yet completely uniform. Remove dough parts from the bowl and combine.
Cover dough with plastic wrap. Roll out the dough a little bit. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour. (It’s always better to prepare the dough in advance, the dough keeps for up to a week in the fridge and for about two-three months in the freezer.)
When the dough is stiff and cold, remove the plastic wrap and divide the dough into 5 equal-sized pieces (about 80g each piece). Leave one piece of dough on the counter top (in a cool room) and put the rest back in the fridge. Give the dough a circular shape.
Flour the work surface, place the dough on top and dust it with flour as well. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Keep turning the dough throughout and make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Roll out the dough to a 3-4 mm thickness.
Please note (!) If at any point the dough starts to soften, put it back in the fridge until it is stiff again.
Place the pie form on a parchment paper and place the dough gently on top of it. Lift the edges of the dough, gently push the rest of the dough down and attach the edges to the sides of the form, starting from the bottom of the form to the top. Gently press down on the sides so that the corners at the bottom form a clear angle. (It’s not the end of the world if the dough gets torn accidentally. Just attach the sides that have been torn apart and move on).
Go over the top of the ring with a sharp knife and remove the excess dough. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and put it in the freezer. Repeat the process with the rest.
Keep the pie crusts in the freezer until the dough is firm (about half an hour). Preheat the oven to 170 ºC / 340 ºF. Remove the pie crusts from the freezer and set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 18 minutes until the pie crusts begin to brown. Set aside to cool. Release the pie crusts from the forms.
Lemon Mint Cream
Put lemon juice and mint leaves in a small pot. Bring it to a boil and remove from fire. Cover the pot with a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Pass the lemon juice through a sieve and get rid of the mint leaves. Put sugar, lemon zest and eggs in a saucepan and whisk. While still whisking, add lemon juice to the saucepan.
Start warming on medium heat, while whisking all along to prevent the egg yolk from congealing. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and pour the mixture through a sieve into a measuring pitcher.
As soon as the temperature reaches 55 °C / 130 °F, add the soft butter (gradually but quickly) and mix well. Grind with a hand blender to a uniform consistency.
Pour the cream immediately into the crusts to the end. Keep in the fridge for about half an hour to an hour to let the cream set.
Put egg whites, sugar and salt in a stainless steel bowl and whisk well. Warm the mixture on a double boiler (medium heat) while whisking all along to melt the sugar and pasteurize the egg whites.
Once the temperature reaches 60 ºC /140 ºF, lower the flame and keep whisking for about 5 more minutes (OR bring the temperature to 70 ºC /160 ºF and whisk for 1 minute).
Make sure the temperature doesn’t pass 75 ºC /165 ºF. (I just lower or turn off the flame accordingly and keep the temperature between 60-70 ºC / 140-160 ºF).
Remove from heat and strain immediately into the mixer bowl. Whip the mixture on maximum speed for about 5 minutes until the meringue is stable and shiny (stiff peaks).
Fit a pastry bag with a 16 mm smooth tip and fill it with the meringue. Pipe a spiral generously above each lemon mint pie. Using a spatula spread the meringue around to get a smoother look just like in the postcard. Keep in the fridge.
Just before serving, burn the meringue with a burner. Decorate with mint leaves and serve. Keep the lemon mint pies in a sealed container in the fridge up to two days.Yum
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