The day had started off with lots of running around in the quest of the perfect wedding dress. After several days spent with a fruitless search, I am now fully convinced that either you have to be willing to spend an insane amount of money or that you have to have a terrible sense of fashion in order to simplify this matter. Not to speak of the odd looks the shop assistants give you once you mention that you're about to tie the knot in a mere three months. Getting married seems not to be for the spontaneous at heart.
Still cursing under my breath, I set to work. There was no time to lose as this pie was to be eaten with a bunch of friends at an Australia Day bbq later in the day. However, I wasn't off to a good start. For the first time ever, I had run out of all-purpose flour without restocking immediately. And the level of the sugar jar was crucially low, too. Now one might think that simply going to the shops would be the sensible thing to do. Unfortunately, a couple of days ago, my handbag got snatched away and I'm still waiting for the replacement bank card to arrive. Meanwhile, I've got to plan ahead and ask my boyfriend for cash after hours. Needless to say, I hadn't been planning ahead and had run out of cash after buying a shirt for him (the only successful thing to come out of my shopping trip).
Thus, things had to be improvised. Feeling a little bad because following the recipe and learning from the experience is the whole reason for our online baking community, I started mixing bread flour, cornstarch, and sifted whole wheat flour - simply hoping for the best. Unfortunately, I hadn't thought of sticking the butter into the freezer so it came out of the fridge still somewhat pliable. This made for a relatively soft pastry so I omitted the ice water altogether out of fear ending up with a floury mush instead of proper shortcrust pastry. Prebaking also didn't work that well with some of the pastry sticking to the foil.
Luckily, when attempting the filling, things finally took a turn for the better. The lack of granulated sugar could be helped with an ample supply of icing sugar; and I successfully cooked the lemon-filling on the stove-top. While waiting for crust and filling to cool, I cleaned the kitchen; and then another obstackle turned up - on my doorstep, literally. Despite Australia Day and despite not being announced at all, two builders stood at the front door, demanding to be let in and to repair our smoke alarm. When the alarm had been checked a week earlier, the guy hadn't bothered to mention that there was something wrong with it and that I had to expect builders turn up basically any time. So, whilst they were busy doing whatever they had to do, I finished cleaning, whipped the meringue, finished the pie, started taking pictures, and we all tried not to feel too awkward and not to be in each other's way too much.
Eventually, I finished the pie and it was very well received at the bbq despite the crumbly crust. The lemon filling was very flavourful, not too sweet and not too tart. Right after cooking, it still had a starchy aftertaste but that vanished once fully cooled and set. The meringue held up nicely for a surprisingly long time; and the only thing I have to improve is making a proper crust. To be perfectly honest, however, if pressed for time and in possession of some good-quality lemon curd, I would probably opt for the short cut I did last month: These tartlettes were made with store-bought butter puff pastry and homemade lemon curd. With only the meringue to prepare, the little beauties took only a couple of minutes to make. However, I'm glad that I did the real thing for the first time - thanks to Jen of The Canadian Baker for choosing such a tasty recipe! Check out the results of the other Daring Bakers here!
Note: After comparing my conversion with the ones The Passionate Cook did, I realized that I used only 250g of flour (which explains that there was no need for any ice water) and I used more cornstarch and more lemon juice for the filling. Considering all this conversion trouble, I consider myself lucky that the crumbly crust was the only shortcoming of this challenge..;-)