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Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

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Let’s face it: making a lemon meringue pie isn’t easy. But the rewards are great, especially if (like us!) you’re a major lemon fan. These little pies take some effort, but they are adorable, perfect for a party, and will impress your guests.

Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

1 batch Flaky Pie Dough for single crust (recipe below)

For the filling:
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 large egg yolks, beaten
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained
2 Tbs. unsalted butter

For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

Prepare the flaky pie dough and chill as directed.

Lightly butter two 24-cup mini muffin pans. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough quite thin, to 1/16-1/8 inch (2-3 mm.) thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch (6-mm.) round cutter, cut out as many disks as you can. Gather the scraps, press together, reroll, and cut more disks. You should have around 40 disks total. Gently press each disk into a muffin cup to line it evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Fill any empty muffin cups with a little water. Prick the bottoms of the shells with a fork. Bake the shells until golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the shells from the pans and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Have ready all the ingredients for the filling and meringue before you get started. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and the lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Place the yolks in a bowl, pour in a bit of the hot sugar mixture, and whisk together. Pour the yolks into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the butter. The mixture should be quite thick. Using a small spoon, fill the baked shells with the lemon filling. Place in the oven to stay warm while you make the meringue (you don’t want to leave the shells in the oven longer than 5 minutes, so you will need to work quickly!).

To make the meringue, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium-high speed until frothy. Beating constantly, slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Beat until the meringue is thick and glossy (when you stop the beaters, the peaks should just barely curl at the ends).

Dollop the meringue on the pies, doing your best to spread it to the edges of the filling to seal the filling in the shells. You can also use a pastry bag and a medium tip to pipe the meringue onto the pies. Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Let the pies cool completely before serving. Makes about 3 dozen mini pies.

Flaky Pie Dough

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
7 Tbs. (3 1/2 oz./105 g.) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar, if using. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes enough for one 9-inch (23-cm.) pie or tart.

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30 Days, 30 Ways: Make Salad a Meal

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All throughout January we’re bringing you 30 Days, 30 Ways to Good Health, a series of easy strategies for overall wellness (and because we love food, it’s focuses on the foods and cooking techniques to add into your life instead of what to take away.) Read on for our latest eat well strategy: make salad a meal.

 

There’s no need to relegate salads to the sidelines. With a few hearty add-ins like nuts, cheese, chicken or beef, you can turn a light vegetable salad into a hearty meal, like the Classic Salad Nicoise. Here are some of our favorites — a quick weeknight dinner is just a few steps away.

 

Chicken Tostada SaladChicken Tostada Salad
This is a refreshed version of the ubiquitous taco salad, with lean chicken and chopped vegetables piled high on a crispy tortilla.
Grilled Lamb SaladGrilled Lamb Salad
This gyro-inspired salad features lamb and greens alongside lightly grilled pita triangles.
Tangy Summer Vegetable Salad with BulgurTangy Summer Vegetable Salad with Bulgur
Here, bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini are grilled and tossed with a vibrant mustard vinaigrette, then topped with blue cheese, walnuts and chickpeas for extra flavor and texture.
Noodle Salad with Pork and Asian Lime VinaigretteNoodle Salad with Pork and Asian Lime Vinaigrette
Chinese egg noodles are a versatile ingredient for soaking up flavor and making a salad into a heartier main-course dish — you can also substitute regular vermicelli pasta.
Grilled Chicken Caesar SaladGrilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Adding grilled chicken turns a classic Caesar into a hearty main course; it’s a great use for any leftover chicken, too.
Panzanella Salad with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and TunaPanzanella Salad with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Tuna
This modern take on a bread salad combines chewy cubes of whole-wheat sourdough with a tasty mixture of marinated tomatoes, tuna and chickpeas.
Grilled Flank Steak Salad with TomatoesGrilled Flank Steak Salad with Tomatoes
Flank steak is a great choice for salads — slice it thinly so you can toss it easily with other ingredients.
The CobbThe Cobb
Heaped with blue cheese, bacon, chicken and avocado, this restaurant menu staple is a hearty meal that guarantees you won’t be hungry until suppertime.
Shrimp Salad with Potatoes and Green BeansShrimp Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
Fresh dill, green onions, lemon, mustard and fruity extra-virgin olive oil are the vivid seasonings of this summery salad.
Chopped Salad with Lemon-Chipotle DressingChopped Salad with Lemon-Chipotle Dressing
Bold chipotle chilies perk up the lemon-basil dressing that flavors this salad. Serve it with crusty bread and finish with cooling slices of fresh melon.