Sunday, December 6, 2009

Recipe #2 Review - Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon Meringue Tart
Recipe was made exactly according to Dede Wilson's unforgettable desserts.

My first Tribulation came in deciding which pie pan to use. It calls for a 10-inch loose-bottomed fluted tart pan. Well how difficult can that be to find? Apparently much more than I presumed at 9 PM on a Sunday evening, since the flan pan I thought I had is in hiding. I really did not want to use a flan pan or quiche pan that was missing in renovation haven, as really wanted to follow the recipe directions for the sugar tart crust to ensure best results. So I went off to Walmart to get a proper loose-bottom fluted tart pan - sexy!! I could not find at Walmart, or Sobey's (local 24 hour grocery store).. so had to delay making of pie until I had all ingredients and correct equipment. Not a problem, or so I thought, I would pickup at same time I was getting the citrus zestor at David's Gourmet on Monday.

I did find the Microplane Zestor that I had longingly touched on last visit to David's Gourmet and now I own! I love it.


BUT .. no loose-bottomed tart pan. No problem, I will pickup at Zehrs, as they have kitchen appliance section and also cooking and baking supplies - ahh and appears my glass lemon juicer is also in hiding or was confiscated by children? ... again No Problem.. will just get another at Zehrs.
Well .. I could not find the loose-bottomed tart pan at Zehrs, or even a non-loose-bottomed tart pan for that matter. Nothing even close to a tart pan was to be found. Also I could not find a simple juicer device. However I did find this very cool, electric juicer that was only $9.99, so decided it was worth trying.

It is actually very amazing and I believe one of the best kitchen gadget purchases I have ever made. It is no-name made in China special. It stores in drawer neatly and even has a groove for cord to be hidden for neater storage. I have used it also for fresh orange juice from imported Florida oranges and voila - wonderful.

BUT .. still no loose-bottomed tart pan. Time to google and find local store carrying them, rather than spending anymore time searching store to store. Suddenly it appears there is a shortage of kitchen specialty stores in Kitchener- Waterloo, but I did find that Gizmos is still at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, and website does not indicate any loose-bottomed tart pans, but I had high hopes that they will. The next day  I go to the mall on my lunch break and well there is some sort of celebration due to new addition opening, that I have to avoid and make my way to Gizmos with the least fuss as possible.
AND .. YES they have the loose-bottomed tart pan in a variety of sizes, including the cutest small individual pans, that I managed to resist - well for now. If you have never been to Gizmos it is a paradise to be explored, and you will definitely find something that you just must have. Gizmos has 2 Waterloo locations.

Ok - so all ingredients purchased and equipment! I have promised to deliver lemon meringue tart on Friday to office for tasting purposes by the best tasting team - my work colleagues. 

The making of the pie or tart,  was an enjoyable experience except for the meringue which I believe was due to the plastic bowl I used with my Braun mixer. BUT .. this lemon meringue tart is the BEST lemon meringue that you will ever experience. The tartness is perfect. The filling is basically a very large-batch version of  lemon cream or lemon curd. Dede insists that a candy thermometer be used as the temperature achieved is essential to success. Hmm .. well I did have problem with this, as my newly purchased candy thermometer was not registering correctly. This is when I start to get flustered and sweat. I really do not like to have failures once I get all ingredients mixed and now on final stretch of the promised pie. Upon inspection we discovered (my husband K and I) that packing material was still in the end of the thermometer. However, Dede does mention that the correct temperature of 180F will be when "the cream  thickens and form a soft shape when dropped from a spoon" - which was consistent with where I was at. My arm was starting to go numb due to length of time I was whisking - so I was very relieved that I had reached the desired temperature. The meringue was simple enough to make, however I either did not achieve the required temperature of 160F due to still being thermometer challenged, or due to the plastic bowl used to whip the meringue, as it was slightly too soft - BUT tasted magnificent!


Sugar Crust ... was easy and cooked perfectly and was removed from THE loose-bottomed tart pan easily and placed on silver serving tray. Lemon filling inserted and awaiting meringue topping.

Meringue in bowl.

Meringue  - after being toasted under broiler as I was too wimpy to try the propane torch without K to supervise.  The one issue with broiling is that it heats the entire tart, rather than just stabilizing and toasting the meringue - so next time I will torch it!!


RESULTS: Taste 5 Stars!!
Ease of  Making: Medium
Skills Required: Other than proper equipment and careful attention to lemon cream preparation a Beginner should be able to manage.
I will definitely be making this again and trying to perfect the meringue.

p.s.  Kenwood has a new mixer that has a heating feature that I believe would be perfect for creating the lemon cream  - see the links for more information.

... darleen

Blogging Again - December

I have been too busy cooking, baking and working to BLOG!! Ok .. I really need to get this figured out, as plan was to cook or bake and then BLOG about the experience.

That will be my New Year's resolution - I promise.
I also was ill with flu most of October and into November. Mostly it has passed, but still some dregs seem to linger.

Back to baking and what and how I have been doing.
The Chocolate Pie - I made 4 times with great success. I will update tomorrow, regarding the differences of each session, and how using different chocolate variations changed the outcome or not.
Other Culinary Quests that I attempted were

  1. Lemon  Meringue Tart from Dede Wilson's unforgettable desserts
  2. Lemon Pudding
  3. Chocolate Snowball Cake - renamed Exploding Chocolate Snowball Cake
  4. Carrot Cake .. hmm made that twice
  5. Best Banana Muffins in the Galaxy
  6. Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Icing
  7. Darleen's Very Cheesy Lasagna
  8. Garlic Toast with Cheese
  9. Stuffed Peppers
  10. Potato Soup
And was the mixture of spaghetti with home made spaghetti sauce, chicken slow cooked with onion and grilled mushroom soup sandwiches.

As with all experiences I am not sure you would want to see the video, as it seems that working in a kitchen under renovation has added complications. Some cause blood to be spurted!!

Other calamities have been due to equipment trials and tribulations - such as the food processor I purchased from kijiji for $8.00. It lasted exactly 30 seconds and shredded one carrot! Then it froze and motor was unable to be resuscitated. That was after the Braun chopper also had a seized motor when being forced to chop chocolate. So I am back to chopping, pureing and shredding mostly by hand.

I am trialing - testing - a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, lent to me by my daughter. She is a professional cook, so before I determine which is the best mixer I would like to test if possible. So far I am mostly impressed, but there  are some oddities that are possibly my own peculiarities or maybe it is not the correct mixer for me! It feels backwards is the biggest complaint, and also the bowl is awkward and too small? I still prefer my 35 year old Braun Mixer (with blender, shredder and meat grinder attachments) - except for fact that switch is touchy, and only has plastic bowls. Advantage to it however is that it is not backwards - bowl is on left hand side, not right hand side. Possibly after 35 years of using it on left side is reason I find the Kitchenaid backwards. I am considering looking more closely at the Professional version with bowl lifter.

Anyway ... I will get right to my recipe reviews and modifications I made, and outcome as well as my tribulations throughout. Next will be of course Christmas baking!!