Lemon Meringue Pie has always been impossible for me to resist. There’s something about combining a flaky crust, a sweet and tart lemon filling, and a cloud topping of toasted meringue that tastes like a slice of heaven. Sprinkling cookie crumbs in the bottom of the pastry before adding the lemon filling will help prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Classic Pie Pastry for one 9 inch single crust pie
¼ cup finely crushed ginger snaps or graham crackers
1¼ cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups water
5 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Tip: Use a citrus zester and citrus juicer for fresh zest and freshly squeezed juice.
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Prepare Classic Pie Pastry for a 9 inch single-crust pie. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the bottom pastry. Trim the pastry to one inch beyond the edge of the pie pan, turn the edges under. Flute the edges. Lightly prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate pie shell until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F., with the oven rack positioned in the middle of the oven.
- Line the pie pastry with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a large coffee filter. Fill the pastry with pie weights or dried beans or rice to keep the pastry from puffing up and shrinking.
- Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven; carefully remove the paper and pie weights or beans.
- Return to the oven and continue to bake another 5 to 6 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire cooling rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium heavy, nonreactive saucepan stir together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute longer.
- In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks.
- Temper the eggs; very slowly, in small amounts, add about 1 cup of the hot sugar mixture into the beaten eggs while quickly whisking together.
Tip: The technique used to blend uncooked eggs with a hot liquid is called tempering. Tempering slowly warms the eggs so they are closer to the temperature of the liquid they will be added to, preventing the eggs from scrambling. If you simply poured the eggs into the hot mixture they would immediately start cooking and you would have chunks of cooked egg in the mixture.
- Return the egg mixture back to the rest of the hot sugar mixture, pouring back slowly while whisking the two mixtures together. Return to medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and scraping over the bottom of the pan, cook until mixture becomes a thick custard, thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 10 to 12 minutes, or registers about 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter, stir until blended. Cover to keep warm and set aside while preparing meringue.
- In a small heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting on a gas stove or remove from the heat on an electric stove to stop the cooking while egg whites are prepared.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the saucepan with the sugar mixture, raise the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook the sugar mixture, without stirring, until it reaches a temperature of 236 degrees (soft ball stage.) Remove from the heat. Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with an electric mixer at high speed. Continue beating until egg whites are cool, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the crushed ginger snaps or graham crackers over the bottom of the baked pastry. Pour the warm lemon filling into the pastry. Drop mounds of meringue around the edge of the pie on top of the filling. Then mound the remaining meringue in the center. Gently press down on the meringue to make sure meringue is sitting on the lemon filling, filling in any air pockets. Make sure the filling is completely covered with meringue and the meringue is touching the edges of the pastry. Swirl the meringue with the back of the spoon to form attractive swirls and peaks.
- Place pie in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Change the oven temperature to broil and brown the meringue under the broiler for 20 to 60 seconds or until the peaks in the meringue are golden brown, watching carefully to prevent the meringue from burning. Remove from oven and place pie on a wire cooling rack to cool. Or, after baking for 5 minutes, remove from oven and lightly toast the meringue with a kitchen torch. Hold a small 3 to 4 inches from the meringue and wave it back and forth until the meringue is lightly browned all over.
- Cool away from drafts for 2 to 3 hours before serving. When cool, serve at once, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Description: Single Crust Fruit Pie with Meringue
Pan: One 9 inch Pie Pan
Pastry: Classic Pie
Pastry Prep: Baked
Starting Oven Temp: 425o
Prep Time: 2 hours
Pastry Bake Time: 20 to 21 Minutes
Filling Bake Time: 5 Minutes
Broil Time: 20 to 60 Seconds
Serves: 6 to 8
Storage: Loosely Covered With Aluminum Foil Tent and Refrigerate
Recipe Type: Pie, Lemon, Meringue, Fourth of July
Help: Classic Pie Pastry, Meringue
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