Published On: Fri, Jan 12th, 2018

Key Lime Meets Lemon Meringue in This Citrusy Cream Pie

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Cream pies are an American custom courting again to the early 1800s, once they had been invariably served in a flaky pastry crust and topped with meringue—the eponymous “cream” referred to the dairy of their custard filling. I’ve gone over the logic behind that conference earlier than, in my rationalization of why I prime my chocolate cream pie with meringue quite than whipped cream. This naming conference is strictly why now we have each coconut cream pie (creamy custard) and lemon meringue pie (juicy custard), although every was traditionally topped with meringue.

Although all however forgotten at present, lemon cream pie was fairly widespread as properly, prized for its light acidity and refined richness. The recipe seemed kind of like that for some other lemon meringue pie, however it was made with milk as a substitute of water within the filling. In fact, warmth plus acidity and milk seems like a recipe for cheese, however the sugar, starch, and yolks within the custard work to stop the milk from curdling. The result’s a deliciously creamy pie with a mellow citrus character alongside the traces of orange sherbet.

Whereas lemon cream pie is a factor of magnificence, there is no lack of lemony choices on Critical Eats—we have lemon bars, lemon meltaways, lemon chantilly, lemon sorbet, lemonade, lemon-candied pistachios, lemon syrup, lemon scones, and heck, even lemon spaghetti—so I believe it is time to present limes a little bit love.

They’ve a pure affinity for dairy, and provides this cream pie a contemporary taste to brighten up any afternoon. Topped with toasty peaks of Swiss meringue and nestled in a whole wheat crust, it is a dessert that is prepared to provide Key lime pie a run for its cash.

I begin by zesting and juicing the limes, a step that may be knocked out a number of days prematurely if the juice is refrigerated in a nonreactive, hermetic container. Freshly juiced citrus is vital for uncooked functions, however in a cooked custard, that contemporary nuance shall be misplaced anyway; since juicing and zesting are probably the most time-consuming steps of the recipe, it is a nice alternative to interrupt the method up into bite-size duties.

No matter the way you time it, after juicing the limes, do not you dare throw away these rinds! With a scoop of sugar and some hours of neglect, citrus rinds will be passively became a tart no-cook syrup that is good in cocktails or as a dressing for contemporary fruit.

As soon as the zest and lime juice are ready, the lime filling comes collectively very like the one for my chocolate cream pie. In contrast to another stovetop custards, which mood sizzling milk into a mix of sugar, cornstarch, and egg, mine combines these components from the beginning.

Gently warming the combination over low warmth accomplishes the identical factor (i.e., warming the eggs with out scrambling) as conventional tempering strategies, however with much less mess and fewer soiled dishes. As soon as the combination is heat to the contact, it is secure to lift the warmth and proceed cooking and whisking till it is bubbling-hot.

The whisking half is tremendous essential, so be sure you’ve bought the right whisk for the job: a balloon whisk for sauciers or a ball whisk for pots with tight corners. When the primary bubble seems, proceed cooking and whisking for precisely two minutes extra.

This is not about reaching a particular temperature—the custard shall be 212°F (100°C) from begin to end. It is about holding the custard at boiling warmth to denature a starch-dissolving enzyme present in egg yolks. Skip this step or guesstimate the time, and it’s possible you’ll wind up with lime soup as a substitute.

When the time’s up, stir in a number of drops of rosewater off warmth. Because of some shared important oils of their chemical composition, rose and citrus pair like a dream, with the rosewater restoring the sense of freshness that cooking tends to boring in citrus.

Rosewater is simple to search out within the worldwide aisle of main supermarkets, in well-stocked liquor or occasion shops, in Indian markets, or online, so, whereas it is technically an non-compulsory ingredient, it would not take a lot effort to step up your sport. (It additionally turns up in my roasted winter strawberries and applesauce.)

Pour the nice and cozy custard into a completely baked pie crust (try my blind-baking tutorial for more info). I wish to play up the Key lime pie vibe with the graham-y taste of my whole wheat pastry crust, as its leaner components properly offsets the richness of the lime custard, however it’s nonetheless flaky and crispy, identical to my old-fashioned all-butter pastry.

Lastly, I prime the pie with Swiss meringue. As a result of this model of meringue is absolutely cooked, there is no rush to get it on the pie whereas the custard continues to be heat (a doubtful observe at finest; no custard is sizzling sufficient to totally cook dinner a meringue on contact). Which means you possibly can put together the meringue and end the pie at your leisure, with out having to race the clock.

As a completely non-compulsory crowning glory, I take advantage of a disposable pastry bag fitted with a large star tip to prime the custard with little kisses of meringue.

To make sure the meringue is stiff sufficient to pipe, it is important to stay to the recipe’s authentic ingredient ratio and cooking temperature, as low-sugar meringues or those who have not been sufficiently cooked will not maintain such stiff peaks. Should you’re utilizing toasted sugar left over from blind-baking the pie crust, please, please, please be sure that the foil liner lined 100% of the crust. If any a part of the crust is uncovered, even when it is not in direct contact with the sugar, butter can bubble up from the crust and into the sugar. It is not quite a lot of fats, however it’s sufficient to stop the meringue from holding its form when piped. Ought to that occur to you, overlook about piping, and keep on with old style swoops and swirls of meringue.

Regardless of the model, I like to recommend baking the pie at 375°F (190°C) to puff and toast the meringue. The sluggish, light warmth causes the meringue to broaden because it bakes, giving it a lighter consistency than a meringue that is merely toasted on the floor with a torch. Do not imagine me? Take a look at the video that accompanies my chocolate cream pie article, and watch the meringue swell because it bakes.

An pleasurable aspect good thing about piping the meringue is creating extra floor space for browning, which balances its sweetness with a little bit of toasty caramel complexity.

Cool the completed pie to room temperature, then cowl with plastic and refrigerate till it is no hotter than 60°F (16°C). It is high-quality for the pie to be colder—I believe it is best served at 40°F (four°C)—however above 60°F, it is just too heat to slice.

Because of the entire wheat crust and the super-stable Swiss meringue, the pie retains properly for as much as per week within the fridge, so you possibly can take pleasure in it one slice at a time—the higher to make that sunny taste final over these gloomy winter days.

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