Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

So, I know it seems like all fun and games when I start taunting you with meringue pies, but in reality, I've been hard at work trying to fine-tune this recipe. THREE pies later, I think I've found some success.

The pie I've been making for many years was Grandma's Lemon Meringue from But it was kind of a hit or miss sometimes, mainly speaking of the meringue part, which as we all know can be very temperamental and quite a test of skill. I decided to try to work on my meringue technique, and see if I couldn't improve on the recipe a bit. I took alot from this article about how to make the perfect meringue, and encourage you to check it out if you are looking for some pointers.

Here's photos of the third pie, so you can follow along if you like, especially since meringue pies can be kind of complex. But I think it turned out pretty well. (And here's a printer-friendly version).

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 (9 inch) pie crust - fully cooked. (I suggest Pillsbury ready-made from the freezer section)

Filling ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
juice from 2 lemons or 8 Tbsp. lemon juice (add some zest too, if you're into that kind of thing
2 Tbsp. butter
4 egg yolks

Meringue ingredients:
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

All items used to mix egg whites into meringue must be very clean and very dry. A large glass bowl is suggested.

First thing: separate the eggs while they are still cool (put whites into your large glass bowl and yolks into any medium bowl), then let the whites sit out for about 20-30 minutes while you gather the rest of the ingredients, allowing the whites to reach room temperature.

Filling prep:
In a medium saucepan (not on the stove yet), whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.
Stir in water and lemon juice - very gradually to avoid lumps. Set aside.

In a large glass bowl, beat eggs whites with mixer on medium-high until soft peaks form.

Add the cream of tarter, and then the 1/2 cup of sugar very gradually (about a Tbsp. at a time) while you continue beating. Beat on medium-high to high until stiff peaks form. It'll be nice and glossy.

Bring your sugar/lemon juice mixture to the stove and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a boil.

Stir in butter.

Ok, so we're gonna do a little "dance" here. And of course, I didn't get any photos of it. I was too busy "watching my steps." har har. But it's a do-si-do between the sugar mixture and the yolks, as follows:
Lower heat to keep it from burning while you temper the egg yolks as follows. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot sugar mixture into the bowl of egg yolks. Now, turn around and whisk this egg yolk mixture back into the remaining sugar. (This keeps the eggs from cooking into scrambled eggs).

Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture will be thick.
Pour filling into pie crust.

At this point you may want to pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Put it together:
Give the meringue a few seconds of beating, just to freshen it up a bit. While the filling is still hot in the crust, drop globs of meringue onto the pie. Spread it around the edges first, then fill in the center, to avoid displacing any of the filling. There should be tall mounds of meringue.

Spread around the top of the pie and scrape it down to the very edge of the crust, "sealing" in the filling to prevent bubbling over or the meringue from shrinking.

You may want to add fun little peaks in the top of the meringue, which will toast nicely.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely before serving. May take about 7-8 hours at room temp. or you can cool for about an hour at room temp, then about 4 hours in the fridge.

Of all the complexities and details in making a meringue pie, probably the trickiest and hardest part for me? Waiting for it to cool! :)

This pie came out of the oven at 1:30,
at which point I put it very politely on the stove top and tried to stay busy.
This photo is to document that 1 hour later, it was still in one piece, and I hadn't mauled it yet:

This one was taken at 3:30. I bet it's cool enough, right?
I touched the bottom, and it was still very warm. Drat!

So I put it in the fridge for another 3 hours. Outta sight/outta mind might work better for me here.

...oops. What's this? ;)

Three infinite hours later:

Mmmmm.... Don't mind if I do! (shown with a homemade latte)

By the way, you may substitute Splenda Granulated for white sugar to create a sugar free version that also has about half the calories. Be aware that, while the taste is still delicious, the height of the pie will be effected. As far as I calculated: One slice (1/8 pie) = 273 calories. One slice of sugar free = 141 calories

So there you have it. There's nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you get in a successful meringue. Or maybe it's just the pie that's making me feel so good inside. :)

Great recipe for the upcoming warm months - very refreshing.


1 comment:

  1. That looks so good. I should make that for my hubby sometime.

    Born To Be Styled


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