A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a pie party on Facebook, not sure who hosted but I was invited by the ever elegant Laura from Laura’s Best Recipes. As usual I am running late getting my post up – it was due by 2 am.
Pastry seems to scare people. I was watching MasterChef last night and the challenge was an apple pie. Most of the participants seemed horrified that they were going to have to make pastry and many of them admitted that they had never made it before. The results were pretty mixed – with some of them making obvious mistakes that resulted in icky crust.
It took me a long time to learn to make crust. It was like riding a bike, though. Once I learned I could do it with my eyes closed. Which, one of the contestants basically did – she is amazing to me because she is blind and she is really kicking it in this series.
Lemon Meringue pie is popular. Almost every bakery, every cafeteria, every restaurant that serves pie will have a lemon meringue on the menu at some point in time. Some of them are deliciously tangy topped with an airy meringue while others are more like some clotted substance with a gooey white top. It isn’t hard to make a great lemon meringue pie – I have at least two no fail recipes here on Restless Chipotle, but when I was thinking about what kind of pie to make for this event I saw the lavender simple syrup that I had made a few weeks ago and I was inspired. I have loved that lavender lemon combination for years.
The only thing I worried about was that the yellow of the egg yolks in the filling would mix with the purple of the lavender and make an unappealing gray. I decided to risk it.
The result? A tangy lemon pie with a delicate hint of lavender and a cloud of meringue was exactly as I had hoped it would be.
But… let’s talk about crust for a moment. Crusts are not hard to make but you have to follow the rules and understand what creates the flakiness. The more water you have in it the heavier it will be. If the butter gets warm it will lose the layers and it will be heavy. And… if you roll it with a heavy hand you will compress it and it will be…say it with me… heavy.
I have shared these tips before but they are worth repeating.
- Have all your ingredients icy cold.
- Use 2 tablespoons iced Vodka for 2 tablespoons of the water. The alcohol will evaporate out leaving less water in the crust.
- Cut the butter into small squares.
- Roll the pastry from the center out, lightly. Always roll in the same direction and turn the crust to get an even thickness.
- Chill the pastry before baking.
- Sprinklea little layer of sugar on the bottom crust before baking. The sugar will glaze it and keep it from getting soggy.
I was fresh out of Vodka so I used Tequila and it worked fine.
You’ll need the lavender simple syrup from the lavender punch. Don’t make the whole punch… just the syrup. It will keep in your fridge for a long time and it is nice to have around for beverages and other uses.