I know that I’ve mentioned plenty of times before on here that citrus really isn’t my thing. I’m a mocha kind of girl. Well, I know that there are plenty of people that looked forward to the summertime and its’ “lighter” fruitier desserts. Lemon Meringue Pie happens to be one of those classic desserts that people just looooove.
Since I’m not a citrus fan, I don’t think I have ever had lemon meringue pie, let alone made one. Alright, I might have had a slice or two over the course of my life, but nothing worth remembering in my mind. I decided to tackle the challenge of making one for myself this summer. For some reason I’ve been on a pie kick this summer. I swear, by the time November hits, I am going to be sick of pies… NAH, I really do enjoy a good pie.
The meringue topping seems to be what causes most of the problems with people- weeping and such. It really helps if you choose to make your meringue on a non-humid day and of course, for your egg whites to be at room temperature. The Cooks Illustrated recipe which I made and am sharing with you now uses dissolved cornstarch to help solve this problem. And it seemed to work. There were a few dew drops of condensation the next day after being refrigerated, but that’s about it. Over all I truly had great success with the meringue of this pie. And doesn’t meringue always look so beautiful?
The lemon filling was very easy to prepare too. No bringing anything up to a certain temperature or anything. It was simply a matter of mixing the yolks, two at a time, into the sugar-water-cornstarch mixture. No tempering of the yolks from one bowl to the other. Very straight forward.
I will say, my photos didn’t come out very appealing for this pie. Once I cut a slice, the meringue kind of starting sliding everywhere and the lemon filling decided to spill over. It was probably still a bit too warm. BUT! It only did this on the plate and not in the pie pan. What was left in the pan stayed beautifully intact, no excessive spillage. Nothing drives me more nuts than when fillings or juices flow into the empty area of the pie plate! Really hate that.
So although this isn’t my favorite pie, simply because of my personal indifference towards lemon-flavored anything, it was very good and I did eat it right up : )
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 Tb grated lemon zest plus ½ cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 2 Tb unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 Tb cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup (3½ oz) granulated sugar
- 1 recipe single-crust pie dough, fully baked and cooled
- For the Filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Bring water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a simmer in large saucepan, whisking constantly. When mixture starts to turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in lemon zest and juice and butter. Return mixture to brief simmer, then remove from heat. Lay sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep warm and prevent skin from forming.
- For the Meringue: Bring water and cornstarch to simmer in small saucepan and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened and translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar on med-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to med-high and beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated and mixture forms soft, billowy mounds. Add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat to glossy, stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during last minute or so of beating meringue (to ensure filling is hot).
- Pour warm filling into cooled pre-baked pie crust. Using rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge and then center of pie, attaching meringue to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Using back of spoon, create attractive swirls and peaks in meringue. Bake until meringue is light golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Let pie cool on wire rack until filling is set, about 2 hours. Serve.
adapted from Cooks Illustrated