Chef Terry John Zila Bakes Up Divine Holiday Pies

8:39 AM, Nov 26, 2010   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.-- This morning chef and culinary instructor Terry John Zila joined us with his recipes for delicious holiday pies.

For more information about Terry John Zila and his upcoming classes, visit

Best Ever Pie Crust

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ cup shortening
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup whole milk

1. Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

2. Pulse in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

3. In a mixing cup, measure milk, add egg yolk and lemon juice and blend.

4. Pulse in the milk mixture into the flour/shortening mixture until a soft dough forms.

5. Turn onto a work surface and knead the mixture until smooth and uniform (about 30 seconds).

Lemon Curd

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon extract
Pinch salt
6 large egg yolks.

1. Melt the butter in a glass or enameled sauce pan. (Any type of metal pan may react with the lemon juice and egg yolks and give the curd a metallic taste.)

2. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, extract and salt. Whisk in egg yolks until smooth.

3. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a silicon whisk, until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Do not allow mixture to boil.

4. Pour lemon curd into a heat-proof glass bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

5. Place plastic wrap of the surface of the lemon curd and chill for up to 2 months.

Lemon Cream

1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup lemon curd

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

2. Place prepared lemon curd in a separate bowl and whisk to soften. Add lemon curd to cream mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.

Italian Meringue

½ cup water
2 cups plus ¼ cup sugar (separated)
9 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar

1. In a small heavy saucepan, stir together the water and 2 cups of the sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.

2. Heat the sugar/water mixture, without stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. While the mixture heats, brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water to prevent the formation of sugar crystals.

3. Clip on a candy thermometer and bring to a boil. Bring the syrup to the firm-ball stage (248 degrees on the candy thermometer).

4. While sugar syrup is cooking, place egg whites in the clean, grease-free bowl of a standing mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

5. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and whip until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.

6. With the mixer running, slowly pour firm ball stage syrup into egg white mixture and continue whipping until mixture is cool, about 15 minutes.

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