- Pi Day started 28 years ago by a Physicist who wanted to celebrate the day with a few colleagues. It has spread...so that we all have an excuse to eat pie :).
- It is not only Pi Day, but Albert Einstein's birthday.
- In case you forgot early math classes, pi = 3.1415.....
- Next year, remember Pi Day. A number of businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and starting to offer sales to celebrate (ex: Whole Foods sells pies for $3.14 off and many retailers have 31.4% sales throughout the day).
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 baked pie crust (use your favorite homemade or a store bought)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon clear vanilla
7 tablespoons powdered sugar
Combine the granulated sugar, 5 T. cornstarch, milk, water, and salt in a large, non-reactive saucepan. Whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Cook the mixture until it reaches a simmer and begins to thicken. Continue to cook until the mixtures turn clears, at least another 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, 2 at a time. Slowly add the lemon juice, whisking constantly. Add the zest and butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking constantly. Return mixture to a simmer. Whisk until the mixture is nice and thick. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into the prepared pie crust.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the powdered sugar and beat just until glossy stiff peaks form, Do not over beat, or the meringue will be difficult to spread.
Spread the meringue evenly over the pie using a rubber spatula. Smooth it all of the way to the crust so the crust creates a seal with crust. Make decorative peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon.
Preheated oven to 325 degree F oven. Cook pie 14 to 16 minutes or until browned on top. (To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler (low not high) with the rack in the middle position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning and turning to create even browning.)
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Refrigerate once cooled or before serving if cold pie is desired.
Lessons Learned = Tips for You!
* I have made lemon curd a few times and never had in issue with it setting up, but I didn't cook it long enough, and it wasn't as firm as I would have liked it. Make sure your mixture is thick before pouring into the pie pan.
* You want to spread your meringue over hot filling to cook the meringue from the bottom up, creating a bond between the two so they don't separate and to prevent the meringue from weeping (small beads of moisture that form on top).
* Beading can also form if your oven is too hot...so if you don't want to spend another 15 minutes browning the meringue, the broiler method works great (that is what I used as I had already devoted too much time to Pi Day!), however, it might result in some weeping. The safest bet is to slowly brown at 325.
* Cool completely! All aspects of the bottom of the pie pan, even the very middle, needs to be room temperature before cutting.