A great lemon meringue pie offers a flaky buttery crust with a tangy lemon filling and fluffy soft meringue on top.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Ingredients Makes: 1 pie
1 frozen pie crust *Try our Dessert Pie Crust recipe here!
5 large egg yolks, separated
6 Tbsp organic cornstarch
1 cup organic sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups purified water
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest, fine grated *Optional
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp organic cornstarch
1/3 cup purified water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup fine organic sugar or powdered sugar
5 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Separate the eggs. Eggs are easier to separate when cold, though the egg whites are easier to use closer to room temperature. So separate the eggs first into two separate medium-sized mixing bowls, then let the egg whites sit for a while. The egg whites should have no bits of yolk or shell in the bowl. *(Hint: Egg whites will not whip up properly if they are in contact with any oil.)
Pre-bake the pie shell. If you are using a packaged frozen pie crust, follow the directions on the package. If you are using a homemade crust, follow the instructions on the given recipe.
Generally, pie shells should be thawed and then gently pierced with a fork to create air-holes to prevent the shell from bubbling up when baking. An egg/milk mixture can be brushed unto the shell with a pastry brush to prevent the crust from becoming soggy later by the filling and gives an attractive shiny golden finish to the crust.
Preheat an oven to 375°F, place the shell on the middle or higher rack and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the crust near the end of its baking time to check for readiness. The crust is ready when all of the crust has risen and the crust has turned a light-golden brown colour.
Make the lemon filling. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and then set aside.
In another medium-sized bowl combine the cornstarch, organic sugar and sea salt; and then whisk in the purified water. Transfer the cornstarch mixture to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let simmer for a minute or two until the mixture begins to thicken.
When the cornstarch mixture has changed to a thick gooey consistency, remove from heat. Take a spoonful of the cornstarch mixture and whisk it into the beaten egg yolks to temper the yolks. Continue to whisk in spoonfuls of the cornstarch mixture until you’ve used about half of it.
Then add the egg yolk mixture into the pot with the remaining cornstarch and stir well to combine. Return the mixture to a boil, over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer then remove from heat; the starch will keep the eggs from curdling.
Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and unsalted butter into the mixture; then set aside.
Prepare the meringue topping. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and the purified water until the cornstarch dissolves. Heat on medium heat and whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens; then remove from heat and set aside.
Beat egg whites until well mixed and become frothy, starting slow and increasing speed, then slowly mix in the sugar. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Next stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla.
Add the cornstarch water mixture a spoonful at a time, as you continue to beat the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks. Be careful not to over-beat though as your meringue could lose its smooth texture.
Preheat oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Move the rack to the middle shelf.
Fill the pie shell with the lemon filling and top with meringue. Heat the lemon filling again, until it is bubbling hot them remove from heat.
Scoop the hot filling into the pre-baked pie shell, spreading it out evenly. Next scoop out the meringue mixture and spread it out evenly around the edge of the pie. Make sure the mixture attaches to the crust with no gaps to help anchor the meringue and help keep it from shrinking.
Scoop the meringue on top of the lemon mixture and spread it out. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks all over the meringue.
Bake. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 325°F, until the meringue is golden brown.
When the pie is finished baking, gently transfer to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely to room temperature. If the pie is even remotely warm when you cut into it, the lemon base will be runny and the pie will not hold its form.
The pie is best if eaten the first day, but will keep good for 3 days. Keep refrigerated after it is cooled.
To cut the pie after it is cooled, dip a sharp knife in cold water to help with cutting the pie into slices and then clean the knife with a paper towel between cuts.
Making Lemon Zest
Wash the fruit. Wash and thoroughly dry the fruit before zesting.
Using a citrus zester. Use moderate pressure to drag the sharp-edged side of the tool down the fruit. This tool produces long, thin, curly strips of zest that are ideal for garnishes.
Using a vegetable peeler. Using moderate pressure, so as not to remove any pith, drag the peeler down the citrus fruit. This makes large pieces of zest, perfect for infusing oils or sugar syrup. For smaller pieces of zest, slice into thin strips or mince into pieces with a knife.
Recipe shared by: J. Marshall
* Try our Dessert Pie Crust recipe here!
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