Friday, April 23, 2010

Lemon pie!!!

Gifts seem to still trickle down and one of the sweetest gifts I got was from my friend Hazel. Hazel and I went to college together and recently I received a mail from her which was my special gift. The mail had a file containing a digitized version of all the recipes her grandmother collected over the years. I was so touched by this gift and I have decided to try each and every one of the recipes listed in them.

Today, I made lemon pie. The recipe that Hazel had given me was that of crunchy lemon bars. I used the recipe for the pastry but then I sort of improvised and played it out in my own way. I'm really bad at sticking to recipes but I love getting inspired by ideas and trying to make my own versions of them, so I hope Hazel doesn't mind that. As I baked this I remembered how I would walk back from my bus stop everyday. I studied in Valley School for two years and the food there was very simple. We would often come home really hungry because the bus ride was about an hour long and we would get home only in the evening. So, as I would walk back home I would pass by Creamy Layer, a branch of All-Saints Bakery and I would be so tempted by all the smells that I would end up buying a lemon tart. I would then rush home, eat Amma's delicious dinner and relish my lemon tart by licking the lemon curd out first, and then slowly devouring the pastry. Just the smell of lemon curd reminds me of me walking back home everyday. I wish I could walk back home; Well, if I walk back home from here, I'd probably get lost by the time I pass two intersections. This recipe a more sophisticated one, where there is a light pastry, with gorgeous satin lemon curd and a crunchy and fluffy meringue topping. So, here's the recipe; I will also be posting the recipe for pulichery, since someone asked for the recipe. Thanks for reading! Hope you like this one:

Preparation time: 1 hour

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tsps of grated lemon peel
  • 2 egg yolks (well beaten)
  • 1 cup of flour
Lemon curd:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 tbsps of butter
Meringue topping:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
For the pastry:

  • Melt the butter and cream the sugar into the butter.
  • Add the lemon zest.
  • Add the egg yolks and flour; mix well.
  • Butter a flat tart dish and press the dough into it.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pull out of the oven and cool.
For the lemon curd:
  • Place the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl.
  • Place this bowl over a simmering water bath and keep stirring as it cooks. This should take approximately 8 minutes.
  • Once the lemon curd has thickened turn off the heat and whisk the lemon curd gently for less than a minute.
  • Add butter and lemon rind and whisk well till the butter is completely dissolved.
  • Let the mixture cool and pour it over the pastry.
For the meringue topping:
  • Whisk the egg whites till thick and fluffy.
  • Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk once more till everything combines together to form a marshmallow-like mass.
  • Pour the meringue batter onto the lemon curd layer and use a spoon to spread it around evenly.
  • Bake for 3-5 minutes in a 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius and bake for 5-6 minutes till the meringue topping browns slightly on the top.
  • Chill for at least an hour before serving.
  • Done!

Here's the recipe for pulichery:

  • 1/2 can of mango puree, which is roughly 2-3 cups
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsps of yellow powder
  • 2 tsps of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsps of jeera powder
  • 3 cups of thick yogurt
  • 1 tsp of methi seeds
  • 2 tsps of mustard seeds
  • a few curry leaves
  • a few

  • Mix the chili powder, sugar, salt and yellow powder in with the mango puree.
  • Cook this mixture for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Grind the coconut and jeera powder together.
  • Add the yogurt to the coconut and jeera powder and cook together stirring continuously. Let the mixture gently boil up and froth. Turn off the heat and pour this mixture into the mango mixture.
  • Cook once again and let the pulichery boil up.
  • Add a tadka by frying red chilies, mustard seeds, curry leaves and methi seeds and pour over the curry.
  • Done!


  1. My experience with meringue is that it smells very eggy.Will the lime juice mitigate this? Also will it turn out altogether too lemony? I remember that I could never finish the lemon tart because there was "too much" lemon curd!I like the way you dot the recipes(or rather the preamble ) with little anecdotes from your childhood -precious memories. Makes your blog a whole lot more interesting .
    Pulicherry looks awesome!

  2. Thank you for the Pulicherry recipe! and the lemon pie looks delish; can't wait to try that one as well.

  3. hey...
    lemon curd and me-- arent a good combinaton. im going to try your version though-- i cant believe it takes only 8 mins to cook.. mine takes forever!! but then again-- i put it in the tart cases straight--and dont bake it after. hmm.

  4. Ammu..........
    You took me down memory lane..........good old days, when I used to sit beside you, while you eat your meal after your long day in The Valley school, & see your eyes rolling as you eat..........I used to wait to see the excitement on your face as you eat what I cooked, followed by the lemon tart, & I judged myself to a were always my inspiration!!!yup! the cat is out!

  5. You used to insist me have a bite of those lemon tarts sometime! I am sure what you have made must be tastier! The pulichery made me drool.