Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So I lied...

Remember the other day when I said I didn't want to cook? Well it turns out I fibbed a little. After eating simple food, going for a lovely walk in the sunshine, and indulging in an awesome John Hughs marathon on Diva I found myself wandering over to my cookbooks and taking a look-see. It was a holiday so stores weren't open. What did I have in my house? What could I make with what I had on hand?

Then it hit me. I had the stuff to make another crust like the quiche one I made over the weekend. And I had lemons and sugar and eggs. I could make lemon pie! Yum.

So I went to my go-to lemon pie recipe from Canadian Living. The process of making lemon pie from scratch is a great lesson in cookery chemistry. Once the pie shell is made, here's the recipe for the filling:

1 1/4 cups (300 mL) sugar
6 tbsp (100 mL) cornstarch
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) water
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon rind, grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) lemon juice
3 tbsp (50 mL) butter

In heavy saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep stirring for 3 more minutes.

During this time a wonderful and curious chemical reaction will happen between the sugar, cornstarch and water. It will thicken and become this grey sludge that looks more like thin grout than something you'd like to eat.

But then, you remove the mixture from the heat. Whisk one-quarter of it into the egg yolks (to prevent the eggs from scrambling), then whisk back into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon rind, lemon juice and butter.

Then taste it. Go ahead. It's not the same grey sludge you had a few moments before. In less than 10 minutes you have turned a few ingredients into yummy tart yet sweet lemon pie filling. Yes, you. It was easy and it worked!

Now take this filling and pour it into the baked pie shell. Put the whole lot into the fridge and cool it off to set. Enjoy!

Note: if you want to turn this into a lemon meringue pie just beat the egg whites with some sugar until stiff peaks form and top the pie with this. Otherwise, you can freeze your whites and save them for an omelet or another use.

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