Category Archives: dessert

We like cartoons.

I like cartoons, always have and I know I always will. I’m sure when I’m 45 I will still love to watch all sorts of cartoons… correction… I KNOW I will.  🙂  This last weekend I was fortunate enough to have my family out for the husband’s birthday; by the way, we had a blast! Initially it was my mom, Andrea (little big sister), Linda (big sister), her husband and daughter. We got things ready for a little birthday party for the husband while he was out taking a police officer exam. [Wish him luck! 😀 ] We did a Bee Movie theme, it’s his new favorite movie. My husband and I signed up for a Hollywood Video membership for $29 a month and get unlimited movie rentals a month. The second we signed up I told him I wanted to see Bee Movie. He rolled his eyes and said I was lame. 🙄  I’ve seen the previews and thought it looked too stinkin’ cute to pass up. After about 4 weeks, I FINALLY got a copy and we saw it as soon as we got home. The movie is SO cute and funny. I definitely recommend it to anyone.

Back to the main topic… my sisters, mom and bro-in-law get the house decorated and began the enormous task of making food. We begin to make cupcakes, salsa, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, hamburgers and hot dogs.  😀  The party went off great! Everyone ate, talked and enjoyed the day to celebrate such a great man… my husband! We all sat and vegetated after filling our bellys with food and began watching UFC when the door bell rings. Koa flips out and I run to the door to tell whoever it is to stop ringing the door bell when I see my dad! WHAT! MY DAD! My dad didn’t come with my sisters and mom on Friday evening because he had to work on Saturday and was just going to stay home and wait for his girls to come home.  So while we were eating then beginning to vegetate he was getting out of an 8 hour work day, then driving the 4.5 hour drive for the husbands birthday. How awesome is my dad? I know, too flippin’ awesome.  🙂  On Sunday morning, I woke up at 7 am. BOO!  😐  and began to make breakfast for everyone. My dad wakes up and showers and plops on the couch. What is he watching you ask? SpongeBob SquarePants. Yup, SpongeBob SquarePants. He is a 48 year old dood that absolutely loves cartoons, which shows me what I will be like to watch at that age.

When I saw this weeks recipe was carrot cake, I secretly got excited! The husband loves carrot cake, but I don’t make it all that much because of the shredding. I am famous for my crappy shredding skills and shredding chunks of my fingers off. But I knew Dorie wouldn’t fail me with a fantastic recipe… and as usual, she didn’t. This is a great cake with an awesome flavor. I changed my version up a bit by making it like a jelly roll then cutting circles out to make mini cakes. I cut the sugar on the frosting but it was still delicious. Check out other TWD bakers here.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yields 10 servings

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.
If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:
This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Storing:
The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

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Filed under birthday, cake, dessert, fruit, nuts, sugar, Tuesdays with Dorie, vegetable

It’s Aloha “goodbye”.

I’m not sure if I have every mentioned it but I used to live in Hawaii. 😀 Yeah, that tiny speckle in the ocean, 2,000 miles from the Pacific coast. Noe was in the military and we were fortunate to have been given the chance to be stationed there. We were there about about 3 and a half years but were hit with the “island fever” no more than 3 month after arriving… or atleast I was. I’m not talking about island fever the possibly fatal disease, I mean island fever where you realize you are on a speck in the ocean and it’s a 7.5 hour plane ride to anything. Literally. Don’t get me wrong, Hawaii is an absolutely beautiful place to live. The beaches are world famous, the parks are amazing and well, it’s a really laid back place. When someone is late or just taking their time doing a task, they say “I’m on Hawaii time.” Which we did live like this for a while. 😉

We were at the beach anytime Noe wasn’t training or in Iraq ( 😦 ). We just laid on the beach, roasted and toasted ourselves, went out to dinner afterwards, then home to shower and out to the movies. This process was our typical itenierary any day off for Noe. I loved it. But when holidays came along, birthdays were being celebrated, family was sick, family members were being born in California… we missed it. Noe and I are all about family. We wouldn’t be where we are without them. Not being a native of the Island we didn’t have family there. We had friends, and some amazing ones I might add, but not family. 😦 Which made me develope the island fever, that enters your body and you want to leave as soon as humanly possible. You want a normality you are used to. Musicians usually don’t go to Hawaii for concerts, no Vegas, no Mexico trips, no AUTHENTIC Mexican food, no TARGET, no OLIVE GARDEN, there are great a many things not in Hawaii, including my family. I am used to these things and people right around the corner in Orange County, CA.

I am greatful for the amazing friends I have made in Hawaii, the awesome activities I got to accomplish (shark cage diving! WOO!) and the experiences I have had, but I don’t think Noe and I would be returning soon. We miss the big blue ocean, the laid back atmosphere but it will always be there, sadly family doesn’t live forever. :-/

I got this recipe from “500 cupcakes” by Fergal Connolly. I think the recipe might be off a bit. I halved the cake recipe but used the entire topping recipe. Nonetheless they are awesome. I love my little tropical plate I got from Ross for .50 cents! WOO! Megan and I loved Ross in Hawaii, we LOVE deals. When I was still living with my parents my pop used to ALWAYS ask for a pineappple upside down cake. He asked almost daily and I made them almost daily. This is for two special people in my heart, Megan and my pop, she would love the deal I got on the plate and my dad would love this cuppy. 🙂 LOVE YOU TWO! ❤

Pineapple Upside-down cupcakes

For the topping
20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 stick sweet butter, melted
3/4 C packed brown sugar

For the cupcakes
2 sticks sweet butter, softened
1 C superfine sugar
2 C self-rising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Grease two 12-cup muffin pans with butter and dust with a little flour, tapping out the excess. In the bottom of each cup, drizzle 1 T of melted butter, 1 T pineapple and 1T brown sugar.

Place all the cupcake ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon batter on top of the pineapple mixture in each cup. Bake 25 minutes, then remove pans from the over and cool for 10 minutes.

Turn out the cupcakes onto dessert plates, serve warm with heavy cream if desired.

Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

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Filed under cupcake, dessert, fruit, pineapple, sugar

My soap box moment.

It’s beed busy at work. It usually is when you have about 5,000 inmates all acting like 2 year olds and whining about anything under the sun. He said this, he looked at me like this, he bumped into me… blah blah blah. Sometimes I want to hit them in the head and say “Atleast you get to walk around and enjoy the sun for a few hours, inmates in segregation are inside 23.5 hours of the day, so SHUT IT!”. But they still complain. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job there are even some days when I love it. 😛 It keeps my busy and keeps steady money in my bank account. But don’t forget, I’m a state employee so it isn’t much. If you have ever worked for a state agency you know it’s the bottom of the bucket. The county is a little better but the city employment is what you want to shoot for. On top of being a state employee, I also work for the department of corrections. We usually never get the funding we need, aren’t included in decision making and are seen as police department rejects. I don’t see it that way. These men and women are keeping over 38,500 men and women behind bars and in line. They over see the women on death throw, DUI offenders, child molesters, rapists, murderers and anything in between. Weather they are 4 feet tall or 7 feet tall (we have some 7 footers at my work) and up to 500 pounds. They deal with poo being flung at them to inmates with geniune illnesses even to the ones wrongly accused (sometimes it happens). They do a lot, put up with a ton, get paid pennies but come to work everyday prepared to keep us safe by keeping them in line and inside, they do it all withOUT any weapons besides themselves and their quick responsiveness. So next time you see a corrections officer, don’t call him a gaurd and thank him for what he or she does. *steps down from soap box*

So for all of my officer friends a sweet treat for dealing with some nasty working conditions. 🙂

This was a great recipe. I made mini-tarts because they are too stinkin’ cute. Noe isn’t a fan of lemon so I made the orange version. If you’d like to see other TWD member made, go here.

Here is the tart recipe, I will get the orange cream one up soon. 🙂

Sweet Tart Dough
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon. For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

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Filed under dessert, fruit, orange, sugar, tart, Tuesdays with Dorie

I’m a coconut.

That’s what my mom says. I just thought it was because I had dark brown hair. My mom and I have a fantastic relationship. We vent our frustrations to each other, talk about husbands, talk about work problems, about our crazy family and everything in between. We are great friends, but first and foremost she is my mother. I have never lacked respect when my mom is involved and despise when anyone does. She works hard and deserves all that she has and more. She works for the County of Orange and has gone from the bottom of the food chain to the top 30% of it. My mom es lo maximo! Haha! I live about 4 hours away from her, which isn’t too much but gah… I miss that woman (and her cooking!) SOO much.

i remember having a conversation with a friend, this is kinda how it went…

ME “My mom calls me a coconut.”

FRIEND “Why?”

ME “Because my hair is brown duh!”

FRIEND “Eh, that’s weird.”

ME “Your face is weird!”

HAHA!

I then go home and ask my momma…

ME “Why do you call me coconut? Brown hair right?”

MOM “Why?”

ME “Just wonderin’”

MOM “Well you know how a coconut is hollow on the inside except for some swishing juice?

ME “Uumm… yeah.”

MOM “That you, there’s no brain up there. Just some swishing juice.”

Me “BURN!!!”

HAHAHAHA!

I told you, my mom and I have a kick ass relationship. She’s my big ugly ugly and I’m the big headed coconut. A couple terms of endearment we have for eachother. I love her with all my heart and miss her everyday.

The other day when I was shopping for some groceries at Wal-Mart and start to go through the produce area and start picking the limes for some cupcakes I’ve been itching to make. I go around to the lime bin and what do I see above it? Coconuts! I have never cracked one open or ever really thought about it, but I figured there is a first time for everything. It sat on the fridge for about 5 days and I didn’t want it to rot so I had the big, buff husband crack it open and get all the meat out so I can shred it. I was so excited about using a fresh coconut. I was shredding and watching ‘Deal or no Deal’ (my new obsession) and it happened. How could I ruin the coconut? How could I do that? What happened you ask? I was shredding the coconut and go to excited and shredded my finger. I thought it was just a scratch but I shredded a good chunk of my finger. I’t gushed for a bit, I cried then went upstairs to wake up the sleeping husband to use his Army training and save my life. It hurts like a beech. I threw out the contaminated coconut, which leaves me with not enought for the cupcakers. I need to get a package at the store now, I don’t think the husband will let me do fresh again. Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the shredding occured, my husbands ENTIRE company, as well as half of California knew about my finger. LOL

This weeks TWD ‘Snickery Squares’ was chosen by Erin of Dinner and Dessert. This recipe has NOTHING to do with coconut but my mom likes dulce de leche and peanuts so it sorta does. We were supposed to make this in a 8” pan but I thought tartlets would be too flippin’ cute until it came time to put the shortbread in the little tins. Yeah… not fun with a useless finger. The peanuts were easy too! I have never carmelized anything and it was super easy. I really want to try it with almonds… yum! This recipe is awesome from what the co-workers said. I’m on a diet so none for me. BOO!

Check out other TWD bakers
here.

Snickery Squares

For the Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:

½ cup sugar
3 TBSP water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:

7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:

Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:

Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.
When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

To Make the Topping:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

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Filed under chocolate, dessert, dulce de leche, nuts, Tuesdays with Dorie

You’re my heart…

And I can’t live without my heart. I remember seeing the movie Blow right when it came out in theatres. I absolutely love it. For one, it has Johnny Depp, two it’s a true story and three it shows how drugs can ruin your life. Johnny (we’re on a first name basis =P) is the main character and basically ruins his life because of drugs. He wants to change though for his daughter Kristina. He told her “You’re my heart and I can’t live without my heart.” I feel that way about my husband. He is an amazing man and is wicked sexy too. hehe!

His 5.5 years with the Army, weren’t easy on him, I and our relationship. He was gone about 4.5 of the 5.5 years he was in the Army. He was always training, in Iraq, training some more and again in Iraq. He spent close to 3 years in Iraq. I told him that I couldn’t live without him, because he is my heart. I know people think, “Yes you can. One person can’t cause the death of another by leaving or dying.” But the love I feel for him is indescribable. My mom says that our bond and love is much more stonger than others because of what we have experienced and dealt with. I remember hearing about the passing of June Carter (Johnny Cash’s wife), 3 months later he died. They say it was because of a broken heart. I believe that 110%.

It wasn’t easy, but I would NOT change it for the world. He is my heart and I can’t love without my heart.

I found a lemon pound cake recipe that Helen made and she said it was the best she has ever had. I just substitued the lemon with orange. It was AMAZING.

Enjoy,
-M

Ultimate Pound Cake, adapted from Lori Longbotham:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 TB orange zest
1 tsp. pure orange extract

Preheat oven to 300F. Butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.

Sift the flour, baking owder and salt together twice.
Cream the butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flou. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer

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Filed under dessert, fruit, orange, pound cake

Michelle – 0.5 | Pie – 0.5

This month for the daring bakers challenge Jen from The Canadian Baker chose a Lemon Meringue Pie. I was extremely excited about it because I love anything lemon but I was also a little intimidated after I heard about the problems a few fellow bakers were having but put I rolled up my sleeves and went to it. I tried to take all the advice from other Daring Bakers and had semi-success with it, hence the blog title. My meringue did not pull away from the edges, it browned in the oven beautifully after about 10 minutes and I didn’t get lemon scrambled eggs. 😛 I cut my slice set it on my plate to photograph it in all it’s firm wonder. I walk away and try to feed a bite to my anit-tart husband. He takes a bite and makes the face of a 2 year old when you try to feed them broccoli. I had a feeling he would give me that kind of face but I thought by some grace of God he would have different taste buds… unfortunately not, he is still a PB&J fiend. I sit next to him on the couch and watch him play his XBOX 360 and take a bite of all the hard work and what happens? I make the face like a two year old being fed broccoli. It was too tart! Even for me and I used to eat lemons with a sprinkle of salt on a hot Arizona afternoon! I am convinced I did something wrong. When I returned to my pie sitting on the counter, it was running. Not too much but you can tell it was starting to give. Sigh… So I guess the pie won, as did I.

Definetly try the recipe and see who wins the battle. 😉

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Daring Bakers Extra Challenge
Free-Style Lemon Tartlets

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:

To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough, position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF.

Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.

Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks. Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

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Filed under Daring Bakers, dessert, event, fruit, lemon, meringue, pie