Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie

I'm always searching for the perfect lemon dessert, aren't you? I could also be looking for the perfect chocolate or caramel dessert as well. But for the moment I've found the fabulous Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie. I was looking for a dessert for my husband's 31st birthday and he loves pie. By loves pie I think it ranks up there with his love for me. : ) Lemon Meringue Pie is his favorite and so I was looking for something similar but different. You can top it with what ever flavor of ice cream you like (although it does call for vanilla). Then I was able to exercise my Lemon Curd making skills.

Mmm... I could put Lemon Curd on anything. Also, it's just so easy to make I don't know why anyone would buy it. If you haven't tried to make it from scratch you really should. Of course, the pie is then topped with more ice cream and then fluffy meringue. Meringue is another component that if you haven't tried to make at home you really should. I am a huge fan of my Kitchenaid mixer though that I bought when I was 16 instead of saving up for a car, which does make the meringue whipping process a lot easier. This pie takes some time considering it has to freeze for 2 hours, then 2 hours again but it is SO worth it. Creamy deliciousness is always worth the wait.

After trying this pie we decided it was fabulous as a lemon pie but would be amazing as a Frozen Key Lime Pie. Hopefully as the weather warms I will be able to make the lime version, or maybe an orange version. There are so many fun ingredient swaps that can be done, the flavor of the curd, the flavor of the ice cream, the type of nuts, anything! Make it your own :)

Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon curd
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
- Pinch of salt

- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 6 full “sheets” of graham cracker
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened, divided

- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

For lemon curd:
1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks, then melt the butter in medium metal bowl set over large saucepan of simmering water. Add the sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt, whisking to combine.
2. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture, then continue whisking until thick and a thermometer inserted into curd registers 178°F to 180°F, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the curd to small bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the top so that no skin forms; chill 4 hours. The lemon curd can be made up to two days ahead and kept chilled until ready to use.
For crust:
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix pecans, graham crackers, granulated sugar, and butter in a food processor until the texture is consistent and fairly fine, then press the mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake until it is lightly toasted, about 12 minutes (crust will slip down sides of dish). Use a rubber spatula to press the crust back into place, then cool on a rack. Freeze crust 30 minutes or leave at room temperature until completely cooled.
4. Dollop 1 ½ cups of the vanilla ice cream over crust and carefully spread into an even layer. Spread all of the lemon curd over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Spread the remaining 1 ½ cups softened ice cream over lemon curd; spread into even layer. Cover and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
For meringue:
5. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy, then beat in cream of tartar. With mixer running, gradually add both sugars 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form, then spoon meringue over pie, spreading to seal at edges and swirling decoratively using a spoon or the back of a spatula. *The entire pie can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept frozen.
6. Use a kitchen butane torch and toast meringue until golden in spots or place pie in a preheated 500°F oven until meringue is golden in spots, watching carefully to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Cut pie into wedges; serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Bon App├ętit April 2007 

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