Monday, January 18, 2010

Help Haiti! [Mini lemon meringue pies]

Update: A huge thanks to all who dropped by the bake sale and traded hugely appreciated donations for yummy treats.  Thanks also to all of the organizers of the sale and those who donated various delectable baked goods.  Remember--you can still make donations, and every bit helps: see info below!

I know that many of you who read this blog aren't local in the area, but please bear with me.  The Stanford Alpine Project, a group of geologically-minded Stanford students, is having a bake sale tomorrow morning (Tuesday, January 19) to benefit the Haiti earthquake relief efforts.  All of the proceeds of the sale will go to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti--the only standing hospital left, and these donations will be matched by Stanford Hospital as well.  If you are near Stanford at all tomorrow, please drop by the foyer of Building 320 (Geocorner) from 9am to noon, pick up a yummy baked good, like these mini lemon meringue pies, and help this important cause!

Even if you aren't in the area, you can also help by donating directly online to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital:  Please, please, if you can--make a contribution!  Or organize your own local bake sale... and try these mini lemon meringue pies, which are little bites of scrumptious heaven.

As a California native (with relatives and family in Taiwan), I totally understand the power and disaster that earthquakes can bring.  We ourselves are overdue for a Big One here in the Bay Area, so while we can, let's help those that have been affected by these forces of nature.

Read on for recipe...

Mini lemon meringue pies
makes ~40-45 mini pies

for pie crust
4 cups AP flour
2 tspn salt
1 1/3 cups butter, cold
12 Tbspn cold water

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, combine flour and salt.  Cut in the butter in ~Tbspn-sized chunks.
3. Process the flour, salt, and butter for a few pulses.
4. Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition.
5. Process just until water is integrated and the mixture is the texture of tiny pebbles.  When you press the mixture between your fingers, it should form a dough.
6. Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured board and form into a ball.  If the dough has warmed up too much during this process, freeze for ten to fifteen minutes before continuing.
7. Break off pieces of the pastry dough and press into each mini tart pan.  Prick the bottoms of the pies several times with a fork.  Freeze for ten to fifteen minutes.
8. Bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, until the pie crusts have turned a golden and light brown.  Remove from oven (and remove from tart pans, if desired) and let cool.

for lemon curd
adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbpsn cornstarch
1/4 tspn salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup fresh meyer lemon juice
3 egg yolks
2 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tspn meyer lemon zest

1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice.
2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest.  Let cool completely.

for meringue topping

4 egg whites
1/2 tspn cream of tartar
5 Tbspn sugar
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1. Place egg whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.  Begin to whip at low until the egg whites begin to foam.
2. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high.  Gradually add the sugar.
3. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks, being careful not to overwhip.
4. Add the vanilla extract and whip the egg whites on high for about ten seconds, "sealing" the meringue.

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Pipe a small amount of lemon curd into the prepared pie shells, enough to be just about level with the top edge of the crust.
3. On top of the lemon curd, pipe a small dollop of meringue.
4. Bake for fifteen minutes, until the meringue is just barely golden brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.



  1. What a great cause! If I were near Stanford I would drive over there in a minute. But thanks for giving us another way to help!

  2. What stunning photos! I have loved lemon meringue every since I was a little girl and would be thrilled if someone presented me with these mini pies. Great work in raising money for those suffering in Haiti.

  3. Hi!
    Those look absolutely divine!
    Was wondering if I could make them in mini muffin trays instead individual tart pans (as I don't have any on hand)?

  4. @Anonymous: I've never personally tried it in muffin trays, but I'm thinking it would work!

  5. What stunning photos! I have loved lemon meringue every since I was a little girl and would be thrilled if someone presented me with these mini pies. Great work in raising money for those suffering in Haiti.


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