Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The "lemon and Italian meringue" dress code

message from February, 7th :
At home, I'm not the only one cooking. Sure, but it's I who make most of the pastries. Successful or not, they always seem to suit those who eat them, just like the lemon pie that Mom decided to make this Sunday. She did not even try to take pictures, but it was really easy to make it appetizing. The recipe used comes from "Sophie's Pies", a collection of  well-known French books, and full of really cool recipes for everyday occasions like these. And I don't knwo why, but this pie reminds me of Marie-Antoinette's clothes.

There are several versions of this recipe, where the pastry is pre-cooked or where the lemon cream is made with an impressive stock of eggs, or with a great deal of double cream. Considering at home we try to avoid too much muchness while taking care of our sweet tooth, we opted for a version that uses Gervita, a French yogurt with a Greek style bottom layer and a natural mousse top one. So you get some creamy texture and an other light and fluffy. You can beat half of the Greek style yogurt until it gets like a mousse if you don't find this.

The result is just perfect, especially when you add a nice Italian meringue on top. As I am a fan of lemon pie, looking at it with no meringue gives me the impression it's naked! The original recipe has been slightly modified by my mother. So this version is the one I give you. It has been tested and approved. The lemon taste is powerful, and its acidity balances well with the meringue.

Ingredients :
for the pie :
1 Shortcrust pastry
2 Gervita (or 200g of Greek style yogurt)
juice of 3 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
150g sugar
60g butter

for the Italian meringue:
3 egg whites
50g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 ° C.
Put the pastry in a pie pan, prick it with a fork and pre-cook for 15mn. It should not get colored. Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat. In a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and lemon zest for 1mn. Then add the Gervita and lemon juice. Mix until the dough is smooth. Pour the filling over the pre-baked pastry and bake the tart for 30 minutes.

Shortly before the end of cooking, prepare the meringue. Book three white eggs in a bowl with the icing sugar then whip at high speed for several minutes. You must achieve a dense foam that does not fall if you overturn the bowl. Beware of the experience!

Remove the pie and let it rest a few minutes, until the topping freezes slightly. Spread the Italian meringue on top of the pie with the greatest care possible. Use a very thin spatula or large knife. Put the pie 10 to 15mn in the oven until the meringue goldens.

Enjoy warm or cold, depending on your taste or texture you want!

Detail from Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun's painting, La Reine Marie-Antoinette en grand costume de cour, une rose à la main, 1779-1789.

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