Friday, April 6, 2012

Lavender Lemon Meringue Pie

One thing you should know about me, is that I can't just leave things well enough alone. I like to take my favorite recipes and kick them up a notch or two (or three!). When I came across this recipe on Pinterest a few months ago, I was instantly excited! Lemon Meringue is one of my favorite desserts, and I love lavender in food. With the first bite of this heavenly pie, I was smitten. It's perfectly sweet and tart and slightly floral-y from the lavender. I am counting down the days until I can make this again... Yummmm... Ok, anyway!

This is the perfect dessert for your Easter feast. It's not a rich or heavy dessert, making it the perfect ending to a large meal!

The only thing I wanted to note, notice the part where you add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan to cook for four minutes. I will (embarassingly) admit that I went against my better judgement and pulled the mixture off of the heat after four minutes, knowing full well that it had not thickend up enough to be filling. But I'm the kind of person who likes to follow the rules to a "T", and I went against my intuition and didn't continue cooking the filling until it was thick. Do you know what that resulted in? A pie that ended up in the trash. Luckily, I noticed my pitfall long before I was to serve it to anyone and I actually had enough time (and ingredients) to whip up another pie. I tell you this so that when you're cooking, you learn to trust your instincts! And also, so that when you make this pie yourself, you'll know you might need a few extra minutes on that step of the recipe ;-)

Lavender Lemon Meringue Pie from Adventures in Cooking

1 Ready-Made Frozen Pie Crust
1 Cup Sugar, plus 6 additional tablespoons
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Lavender
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs Whites
4 Egg Yolks, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, mix together the flour, salt, cornstarch and one cup of the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then whisk in the water and the milk and begin to cook the mixture over medium high heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and take one cup of the mixture out of the pan. 

Gradually whisk the cup of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks until they are thoroughly combined. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and continue to simmer the filling, stirring constantly, for another four minutes. Then remove the filling from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Cover and set aside.

To make the meringue, take 3 tablespoons of sugar and the 1/4 teaspoon of lavender and place them in a coffee grinder. Pulse several times until the lavender has been cut into small pieces and is mixed in the with sugar. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until they become foamy. Beat in the 3 tablespoons of regular sugar and the 3 tablespoons of lavender sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the egg whites until they become shiny and stiff and hold peaks. Do not under beat them, as this may take several minutes to achieve. Beat in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and set the meringue aside.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with tin foil and pour the filling into the crust. Then spread the meringue on top of the filling using a spatula and taking care not to intermix the layer of lemon filling with the layer of meringue. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the tin foil crust coverings, and allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes. Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving. Serve chilled.

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