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Pucker-up citrus lovers, Part II - Pies: Lemon Meringue and Creamy Coconut-Lime Pie

Posted: May 1, 2013 - 9:59am  |  Updated: May 1, 2013 - 10:02am
Equipped with the right recipes, you can successfully turn out pies like Creamy Coconut-Lime Pie, pictured with and without a crust (upper right and left), and Lemon Meringue Pie, without fear of failure. "To cut meringue pie neatly, dip sharp knife into water, either warm or cold; shake off any excess drops; cut. Repeat this process between cuts." -Charlotte Ward
Equipped with the right recipes, you can successfully turn out pies like Creamy Coconut-Lime Pie, pictured with and without a crust (upper right and left), and Lemon Meringue Pie, without fear of failure. "To cut meringue pie neatly, dip sharp knife into water, either warm or cold; shake off any excess drops; cut. Repeat this process between cuts." -Charlotte Ward

Last week, I promised to share lemon and lime pie recipes with you and here are a couple of really good ones you’ll surely want to try – one for a cool and velvety-smooth coconut-lime pie, the other from reader Charlotte Ward for lemon meringue pie. Accomplished bakers like Charlotte are pros at making pies, even ones with temperamental toppings like meringue, but lucky for us, Charlotte not only reveals the recipe she uses for her pie filling (from a Betty Crocker Cookbook), but how she expanded some of the techniques to include those she found helpful for the meringue. If your preference is for a pie created with lime, you are going to love Creamy Coconut-Lime Pie, made with gelatin, whipping cream, Key lime juice and Coco Lopez – a sweetened cream of coconut product commonly used for making piña coladas. By adjusting the amount of gelatin used in the filling, you can even make this pie without a crust. When shopping for limes, keep in mind that it will take about a half-pound of Ping-Pong ball size Key limes to get enough juice for the pie, so if you want to substitute fresh juice with bottled Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice, it will make a fine substitute. Lemon meringue pie is best eaten within a day or two of making, after which the meringue will begin to break down. The lime pie, however, will keep longer and good news, should you have leftovers, they can be frozen for up to a month and enjoyed later. Making pies containing gelatin and topped with meringue may seem daunting, but follow these recipes, and you shouldn’t encounter any problems at all. 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Submitted by Charlotte Ward, Hilton Head Island

(Adapted from the second edition of “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook”)

“The filling and meringue for this recipe is from the second edition of “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook.” The only change I’ve made in ingredients is to use 4 egg whites for the meringue. I’ve expanded some of the techniques to include those that I have found very helpful, e.g., gradually whisk in the cornstarch, etc.” – Charlotte Ward

For the filling

1½ cups water

1/3 cup cornstarch

1½ cups granulated sugar

3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 9-inch baked pie shell

Pour the water into a saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch and then sugar. Cook over

medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils; boil for 1 minute.

Slowly stir at least half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Then blend this mixture into the saucepan; boil for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Blend in the butter, lemon juice and grated rind. Pour into baked shell.

For the meringue

4 large egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of meringue

½ teaspoon lemon flavoring (if desired)

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar, a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Beat in flavoring. Pile meringue onto hot pie filling, being careful to seal the meringue to the edge of the crust to prevent shrinking and weeping. Swirl or pull up points (using the back of a spoon) for decorating top. (I sprinkle a very light coat of sugar on top.) Bake in a 400-degree preheated oven until delicately browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. (I check after about 5 to 6 minutes and then each minute thereafter.) Let cool in a slightly warm place away from drafts. Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie.

Creamy Coconut-Lime Pie with Shortbread Crust

For the shortbread cookie crust

8 ounces shortbread cookies (about 10 large shortbread cookies)*

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Process the cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Pour crumbs into a bowl; add butter and toss until well combined. Press crumbs firmly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack while you make the filling. *Kitchen Ade note: for the purposes of this recipe, I used an 8-ounce box Harry & David’s Citrus Shortbread Cookies. Harry & David Vanilla Shortbread Cookies may also be used.

For the filling and garnish

3 tablespoons cold water (to serve as a crustless pie for slicing, use ¼ cup water)

1½ teaspoons Knox unflavored gelatin (to serve as a crustless pie for slicing, use 1 [.25 ounce, or 2 ½ teaspoons] envelope gelatin

¼ cup cornstarch

½ cup granulated sugar

Pinch salt

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (may substitute with regular whole milk)

1 cup Coco Lopez sweetened cream of coconut

2 large egg yolks

1/3 cup fresh Key lime juice, or equal amount Kellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice

1½ teaspoons fresh grated lime zest, plus more for garnish

1½ cups heavy cream, divided

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, divided

1 (.35-ounce) package Dr. Oetker Whip It Stabilizer for Whipped Cream (optional)*

Large toasted coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

Place the water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top; allow to soften for 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, mix together cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk in coconut milk (or regular milk, if using), Coco Lopez and egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin, stirring until combined. Return pan to heat; stirring constantly, allow mixture to come to a boil; stir and boil for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then stir in lime juice and lime zest. Pour filling into a stainless steel bowl, set over a larger bowl filled with ice cubes, whisking until mixture becomes very cold; set aside.

While mixture is chilling, whip ½ cup heavy cream until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into chilled lime mixture, then pour into prepared crust (or directly into an 8-inch pie dish if you plan serve your pie without a crust.) Chill several hours, or overnight, until set. Before serving, whip remaining 1 cup of cream with the confectioners’ sugar and whipped cream stabilizer (if using) until peaks form (do not overbeat). Spread whipped cream evenly over pie then top with coconut flakes, or decorate, as desired. This pie may be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 1 month. To defrost: unwrap and allow to thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie with a crust, or an 8-inch pie, without. *Kitchen Ade Note: Dr. Oetker Whip It Stabilizer for Whipped Cream will keep whipped cream stiff for hours. In addition, for the purposes of this recipe, Harry & David brand Bake Shop Tangy Citrus Shortbread was used for the crust.

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