Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cherry-Lemon Meringue Mini Pies

Aren't they adorable?  Yes, and the second time around was much better.  Allow me to explain.

On Monday, my dear friend Cindy had a birthday, so I had to bake for her  Since she is my friend who can respect chocolate but would much rather have something fruity, particularly lemon, it was quite fortuitous when the April 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine arrived last week bearing this recipe from Sandra Lee.  Now, this is the second Sandra Lee recipe that didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to (see White Peppermint Snowballs), but I'll take the blame on this one.  When reading the recipe, I thought to use my silicone muffin pan to make sure I could get the pie "crusts" out without breakage. However, when I actually made the recipe, I forgot until they were already in the oven.  In my stoneware muffin pan.  Not the most flexible or forgiving of cookware.

Only one of them completely crumbled.  The other two I took out were "reparable."

So instead of presenting the pies in a pretty little container, I just handed Cindy the whole stone pan full of them (which she confessed to eating right out of the pan, a "few" at a time). 

Oddly, this recipe yielded the perfect amount of crust for 12 mini pies, but twice as much filling.  Even more strange, the package of meringue cookies I bought at Trader Joe's was enough to make two batches of crust.  Clearly, the stars were aligning so I could try these again using the right tools.  The recipe below will yield 24 mini pies. I doubled the original recipe's crust quantities, but left the filling the same.  Let me know if it doesn't work for you and/or you did something different!

And as far as tastiness, they are quite refreshing.  I found them very lemony, but the crust was nice and firm (good pie-librium) with a good contrast in flavor and texture.

Cherry-Lemon Meringue Mini Pies

For the crust

10 ounces vanilla meringue cookies
12 tablespoons cake flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
1 box (4-serving package) lemon pudding and pie filling mix
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups prepared lemonade
2 large egg yolks
1 can prepared cherry pie filling

Combine the meringue cookies and flour in a food processor and process until mixture is fine crumbs. 

Add the melted butter and pulse until combined.

Spray muffin cups with cooking spray.  I have both a silicone muffin pan and these little individual silicone muffin cups. 

I ended up using the individual cups, which made for a nice presentation without risking breakage to the crusts.  If I would have made all 24 at once, I would have used both the silicone pan and the individual cups.  If you only have access to 12 silicone cups, make them in batches.  I would not suggest doing this in either metal or stone bakeware.

Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture into each of the prepared muffin cups.  I actually used a scantly filled medium cookie scoop. 

Using the back of a measuring spoon or a small spatula, press the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of the cups.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until just starting to brown.  Remove from oven and immediately press each cup with the back of the tablespoon (you want to make a well for your filling).  Cool the cups in the pan on a rack.

Combine the pudding mix and sugar in a medium saucepan.

Whisk in the lemonade and egg yolks. Continue to whisk over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. 

Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of the lemon filling into each cooled meringue cup.  Top each with about 1 Tablespoon of cherry pie filling (I picked out just the cherries, not the goo). 

Sorry--I apparently stopped taking pictures of the new version at this point.  Whoops.

Chill for about 2 hours, or until the filling is set.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 24 mini pies.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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