I'm pretty sure that the curds and whey Little Miss Muffet was eating had something to do with cheese and not lemon curd but hey...lets talk tuffets.
Finally I got around to blogging about the last piece of the Mother's Day afternoon tea puzzle*. What has this got to do with Little Miss Muffet or curds and whey? Well, my mother's favourite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie (at least I think it is, she always seems to have a Sara Lee one in the freezer) so I decided to attempt a Lemon Meringue Pie, well not one, 8 Lemon Meringue Pies....in miniature of course! I have never made a Lemon Meringue Pie (seriously I can't be bothered to type that each time so lets go with "LMP" from now on) before as I'm not a massive fan of it, or meringue (I really don't - its like the hubby's weird cake-phobia - well not that weird, that really is bizarre. Worst of all it seems to be genetic and my daughter has also started rejecting cake! What is the world coming to when a 2yr old doesn't like cake!?!?).
Anyway, moving swiftly on...
So yes, I had never made an LMP before. I figured that with a classic recipe like this you really need to go back to an old recipe. Now my mother was friends with a lovely loud Southern gal' who had a great passion for cookery and had amassed a large collection of cook books. Sadly she passed away and the cook books needed a new home. A large number of her books were American cuisine and given that at this point in time I was dating hubby my mother thought the best home for these books would be with me. One of my favourite of these books is a real tome and according to the inside covers was published back in 1961. I went straight to this book to find an LMP recipe and there it was. Oh, and its The New York Times Cook Book so I figured it must be a decent recipe. I wasn't wrong.
The recipe - LMP courtesy of the New York Times Cook Book (1961 edition!)
Part 1, the crust
I decided to go with a sweet pie pastry recipe (the book also gives other crust recipes) as follows:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (I used plain)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar (I used caster)
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the remaining ingredients.
2. Mix the centre ingredients with the fingers of one hand or a pastry blender until blended. Quickly work in the flour. Add a small amount of ice water if necessary to moisten the dough so it can be gathered into a ball.
3. Wrap the dough in waxed paper (I'll admit it, I'm lazy and just put it in the fridge in the mixing bowl) and chill one hour. Roll out the pastry, fit it into the pans (the recipe makes either 6 tart shells or 2 9-inch pie shells, I made slightly smaller ones to fit in a cupcake tray) and bake on the bottom shelf of a preheated hot oven (450F) until brown, about 15mins (just watch them!!).
Now you might notice that there are 8 crusts in the first picture and only 6 in the second picture. Well it seems that the crusts had their own opinion on LMPs (or perhaps just shared mine) and took it all a bit personally. They couldn't quite bear it anymore and took dramatic action:
...to be continued**.....
* I was baking on Sunday (Hot Cross Buns! Post coming soon...) so fully intended to sit down last night and write this up. Alas, my laptop seemed to be hating on me (I'm so down with the kids) and then I got side tracked by the brand spanking new episode of Mad Men (hurrah!!).
** Oooh baking cliffhanger, exciting times....I was recounting the tale of the LMP to a friend the other night and she described it as a saga, so lets just go with that too. A lickle experiment.