The January Daring Bakers' challenge was lemon meringue pie! Which is one of my favourite kinds of pie. At first I didn't think it would be that challenging because I've made lemon meringue pie a couple of times. But there was an added challenge for those who felt up to it - free form tarts. Originally I was going to use either my new tartlette pans or these other cute even tinier tartelette pans that I recently found out my mom has, but after I looked up the free form tart in David Lebovitz's Ripe for Dessert I knew I had to try it. Doing free form tarts added that level of Daring Bakers-ness that made the whole thing quite challenging and fun, with of course a bit of stress added in.
As for the making of the pie, the lemon custard part went smoothly as did the meringue (aside from having to crack a couple of extra eggs because I got some yolk in my whites and was paranoid it wouldn't whip up properly). The pie crust was where I had trouble. The dough was insanely crumbly - maybe because I didn't mix it long enough in the food processor? And we were in the middle of making dinner while I was trying to roll out the crust so I wasn't having a lot of patience. I ended up just mashing it together in my hand (pie crust blasphemy, I know). This of course resulted in a very crispy and weird crust (though the flavour was good). I was actually happy that the crust didn't turn out because now I know what's considered a crust gone wrong. I've made a few crusts and was never sure if they were "right", but now I have a comparison. I definitely still need to practice my crust making skills though. How do some people get it so smooth and beautiful??
I found the lemon curd was quite tasty though a bit too tart for me. A bit more sugar and it would have been perfect, but for those that love their lemon desserts on the tart side, this would be perfect. I know some people had issues with watery pies, and I discovered that I did too when I checked on it the next day. Not sure if that's something that just happens the day after with a pie like this.
Anyway back to great things about this challenge! I liked how there was vanilla added to the meringue. I also extremely loved how the free form tarts looked. Very different and cute - I would make this style of tart again, though try to be more tender with the crust. And now I'm wondering why I would still want to make tartlettes when I get frustrated working with pie/tart dough. Ah well, I just have to practice!
Oh and I had no idea that the lemon-y part of lemon meringue pie was lemon curd and not lemon custard! I'm sure many of you knew this but all this time I've been wanting to make lemon curd and eat it on scones and things, when actually I've made lemon curd several times! (Lemon curd and custard are similar, but curd has more lemon juice and zest, according to Wikipedia anyway.)
Go check out the other Daring Bakers' yummy lemon meringue pies and free form tarts, mmm! The recipe is on The Canadian Baker's site.