Sunday, January 24, 2010

lemon meringue pie

a classic zesty citrus tart with a sweet pastry base and creamy toasted marshmallowy meringue topping mmmm......
YUM! my mum used to always cook for our family, and she tried a lot of things...but one dessert we always LOVED was lemon meringue pie! i don't honestly know how people do it making this with "packet mixes". the ONLY way to cook, is from scratch. admittedly some people don't have time or the money, but wow, this one is budget friendly and fast...every time i make it people are stunned that i've made everything by hand. which makes me smile because i know they must have liked it =)

Pastry Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups plain flour
• 2 tablespoons icing sugar
• 125g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon chilled water

1. Process flour, sugar and butter together until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yolk and chilled water. Process until pastry just comes together, adding more water if necessary.

2. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth. Shape into a 2cm-thick disc. Wrap in baking paper. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out. Pre bake at 180 for 10–15 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Lemon Filling
• 1 ½ cup caster sugar
• 3/4 cup corn flour
• 3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from at least 3 lemons)
• 1 ¾ cups water
• 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
• 3 egg yolks
• 75g butter

Meringue topping
• 4 egg whites (use the left over one from the pastry)
• Pinch of cream of tartar
• 3/4 cup caster sugar

1. To make the filling, combine the sugar and cornflour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the lemon juice and water while stirring continuously until mixture is smooth. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

2. Add the lemon rind, egg yolks and butter. Continue stirring until the butter is melted and mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and immediately pour into pastry case, smooth over top for an even filling.

3. To make the meringue topping, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add cream of tartar and sugar. Continue beating until sugar is dissolved.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Top pie filling with meringue. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sugar cookies

nothing makes you feel better than a spot of baking =)
specially when your hubby just LOVES to come home to them!
this is my mum's basic sugar cookie recipe which i just adapt depending on what i need!

125g butter
1 cup caster sugar
cream together until smooth
mix in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla
and 2 tsp baking powder

*for chocolate add 1 1/2 cups plain flour
and 1/2 cup cocoa
*for vanilla add 2 cups plain flour

mix well, until a nice dense paste forms
(if the mix is a bit dry i added the smallest amount of milk until it was just right)

roll into balls if you'd like, or roll out and use a cookie cutter
bake for approx 10 minutes on 180C

i made about teaspoon sized balls...bigger ones spread more and make gooey centres =)

then i experimented:

i used the end of a wooden spoon to poke a little hole in the top of a cookie dough ball ( 1 teaspoon) and put a 1/4 tsp of jam on some vanilla ones

i divided a few of the chocolate balls in half, flattened them and placed a 1/4 tsp of peanut butter in the middle, sealed the two halves and rerolled gently back into a ball, that technique is also nice with nutella centres. for a hot cuppa coffee...
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