Jan 28, 2008

Lemon Meringue Pie

My Daring Baker challenge #2. I'm so glad that Jen from Canadian baker picked this challenge, because I have NEVER made a pie before, and I probably wouldn't have made any pies unless I was challenged to do so. I don't know the first thing about making pies, and it always intimidated me. I guess this is the spirit of Daring Bakers, to do something you normally wouldn't do. I was really worried about making this pie though, since my fellow bakers had so many problems with it. It was definitely a mixture, some loved it, some didn't have much success with it.

I did some research on my own on Lemon Meringue pie. There was so much talk of weeping..I don't even know what that means?!!! I'm completely clueless with pies!! I even watched some videos on how to make lemon meringue pie. Our recipe asked you to wait until the lemon curd has cooled to room temperature before adding the meringue, while most recipes tell you to put the meringue on when the lemon curd is still hot. But in the spirit of Daring Bakers, I am currently anxiously waiting for my lemon curd to cool...to be continued...

My pie just finished baking. Now I know what it means when LMP weeps. It's funny, it really looks like it's weeping...=( I'm so bummed because the pie is delicious otherwise. The crust is nice and flaky, and lemon curd is absolutely delicious, and the meringue is great too. The only problem is the weeping. Oh well..I will have to make it again because I think this is a good recipe. Maybe the failure is due to my watching Lost while baking..heehee =P Can't wait for next month. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Meringue Pie
from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

for the crust:
3/4 cup (175 g) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

1. Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible.

2. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together.

3. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

5. Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm).

6. Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

for the filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (200g ) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (60g) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes.

2. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

3. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

for the meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

2. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks.

3. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

  • Cook's illustrated suggests that if you don't have pie weights, you can use pennies instead. I didn't have any pie weights and didn't want to purchase any, so I lined my pie with foil and put my pennies in. It works great!!

Jan 27, 2008

Coconut shortbread

I've had this bag of shredded coconut sitting in my pantry for a few weeks now. Now that I think about it, I don't remember what I originally bought it for. But since I have this get together to go to tonight, I thought I would make something simple to bring. I needed something quick and easy, because I'm too tired for anything strenuous. I went to one of my favorite blogs, Baking bites, and did a search for coconut cookies. There were a few that looked really really yummy, but I ended up picking the coconut shortbread cookies. These can't be any easier to make, and the results were great. I thought there would be a more pronounced coconut taste, but actually it was actually very buttery with a subtle coconut taste. Very delicious, and so easy!! This is definitely a keeper. Here's the recipe:

Coconut Shortbread

From Baking Bites

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut (unsweetened is fine, too)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or with aluminum foil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, blend flour, sugar and salt together. Mix in butter at low speed until dough is crumbly, but starting to come together.

3. Stir in coconut and continue to mix until dough resembles wet sand; there should be large and fine clumps of dough in the mixing bowl.

4. Pour shortbread dough into prepared pan and press it firmly down into a single, even layer. Score shortbread lightly to make it easier to slice later.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are golden and top is very lightly browned. Middle of shortbread will be set, but not firm.

6. Cool shortbread for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 18 bars. Cool shortbread entirely in pan.

7. When cooled, remove shortbread from baking pan and store in an airtight container. Makes 18 large shortbread fingers, or 24 smaller bars.

Jan 19, 2008

Cheese chiffon cake

After making the souffle cheesecake last week, I wanted to make a chiffon type cake with cheese flavor. I looked everywhere for a recipe...and finally found it at Cherry Pinky Fantasy's website. The problem is the recipe is in Chinese!!! I'm horrible at reading Chinese..and google translate is not really good with translating Chinese either. After reading it over and over again, and guessing at some of the steps, I was able to decipher the recipe. The result was definitely worth the work!!! This is a very light chiffon cake, with a very subtle cheese flavor. Because it's not very sweet, it's perfect for a snack with a nice cup of tea. But because it's so light, I kept going back for more. Yikes!

The preparation is similar to the Souffle cheesecake, only you don't have to bake it in a bain marie. I also like the way this recipe tells you to melt the cream cheese first, and then add the other ingredients into the mixture. I didn't have any remaining cream cheese clumps like I did with the souffle cheesecake. Overall, definitely a keeper. Here's the recipe:

Cream cheese chiffon cake
Adapted from Cherry pinky fantasy

3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
45g milk
10g lemon juice
40g cream cheese
20g melted butter
55g cake flour, sifted twice
80g sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt cream cheese over double boiler.

3. Once the cream cheese is melted, slowly add the milk. Add the melted butter and lemon juice. Whisk the mixture to combine after each addition.

4. Whisk in one egg yolk at a time. When the mixture is incorporated, sift cake flour into the mixture. Whisk together until just combined.

5. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Once the egg whites are foamy, add in the sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon. Whisk until soft peak forms.

6. Add a third of the egg whites to the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then, gently but thoroughly fold the rest of the egg whites to the cheese mixture.

7. Gently pour the mixture into a 6 inch round pan. Gently tap the pan against the counter a few times to remove large air bubbles. Bake for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

8. Allow the cake to cool upside down in the pan. Once the cake is cool, remove from the pan and serve.


  • I didn't have a six inch round pan, and ended up using two small cake pans I bought in Japan.
  • I only had to bake the cake for 35 minutes.

Jan 13, 2008

Souffle Cheesecake

My favorite type of cake would have to be cheesecake. I normally like the really rich creamy cheesecake, like a New York cheesecake. But once in awhile, I like a light cheesecake. This cheesecake is really light in texture, but still has a lot of flavor. It's not too sweet and it only uses 1 block of cream cheese, as opposed to the 4 blocks required for a New York cheesecake. It is a little bit time consuming to make this cake..but it's definitely worth it. This recipe comes from Rabbit Sims.

Souffle Cheesecake

adapted from Rabbit sims

250 g cream cheese
50ml fresh cream
100m milk
80g butter
Cornstarch 25g
50ml milk
150g Egg white (appx. 4 large eggs)
10g cornstarch
100g sugar
138g Egg yolks (appx 4 large eggs)

butter and plain flour (for buttering the mould)

1. Melt cream cheese, cream, milk and butter over a pan of simmering water until the mixture liquefies (stir every 3 minutes), use spatula to stir the mixture well. Let mixture cool slightly.

2. Mix the cornstarch and milk together until cornstarch dissolves and pour into the cream cheese mixture, stir until well-combined. Add in beaten yolks. Strain this mixture through a strainer.

3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line bottom of mold with baking parchment paper. Butter the sides of the mould and coat it with plain flour, remove excess flour. If using loose bottom cake tin, cover the outside of the tin with 2 layers of aluminum foil.

4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites till foamy and add in sugar and cornstarch in 3 batches and beat until soft peaks stage.

5. Take 1/3 egg white and stir into the cream cheese mixture to loosen the batter. Pour the cheese batter into the remaining egg whites and using cut and fold method quickly fold in the egg whites, do not over fold or else the air in the egg whites will escape.

6. Pour batter into cake tin. Sit the tin in a bigger mold or baking tray. Bake in a bain-marie (water-bath). Water must be boiling hot when poured into the baking tray or bigger mould. Water level should come up to ¾ of the height of the cake tin, at least half if you cannot manage ¾.

7. Bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes until the top is brown. Reduce the temperature to 26o degrees and bake for another 60 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin. Remove from tin when cooled and refrigerate.


  • I used caster sugar for this recipe.
  • It takes a long time for the cream cheese mixture to melt. When melting the cream cheese mixture, there will be lumps of cream cheese that are left in the mixture that won't melt. Don't worry, those will be strained out later.
  • It's important to strain the cream cheese mixture because otherwise you'll have lumps in your cheesecake.
  • Keep checking the water level of the bain marie to make sure you have enough water in the pan.

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