Lemon Meringue Pie

Looking for something tart and sweet to beat the summer heat? Look no further, the lemon meringue pie is here.

Okay, this pie will take you some time to make. But, I promise that it will be worth it. I was never a big fan of baking things several times and sadly this pie requires that. The crust must be pre-baked and then after filling with the two layers baked again to brown the top. Other than that, this pie is amazing. You simply must make it.


Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust (from Cook’s Illustrated “The New Best Recipe”)

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4-5 tbsp ice water
½ cup graham cracker crumbs

Process the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle 4 tbsp of the ice water over the mixture. With a ruber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the borad side of the patula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tbsp more ice water if the dough will not come together. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 2 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Sprinkle the work surface with 2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs for rolling out the dough. Sprinkle more crumbs over the dough itself. Continue sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top of the dough as it is rolled, coating the dough heavily with crumbs. You will use a total of about ½ cup crumbs. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan. Working around the circumference of the pie plate, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while gently pressing it into the pan bottom with the other hand. Trim the dough edges to extend about ½ inch beyond the rim of the pan. Fold the overhang under itself; flute the dough or press the tines of a fork against eh dough to flatten it against the rim of the pie plate. Refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate until firm, about 40 minutes, then freeze until very cold, about 20 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough-lined pie plate from the freezer, press a doubled 12-inch piece of heavy-duty foil inside the pie shell and fold the edges of the foil to shield the fluted edge; distribute 2 cups ceramic of metal pie weights over the foil. Bake, leaving the foil and weights in place until the dough looks dry and is light in color, 25-30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering the corners of the foil and pulling up and out. For a partially baked crust, continue baking until light golden brown, 5-6 minutes; for a fully baked crust, continue baking until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack.

Lemon Filling (from Alton Brown)

Lemon filling is bright yellow without any coloring.

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup corn starch
1 ½ cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
½ cup lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

Whisk egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. (Okay, so for this recipe many, many, many people commented that they ended up with a very liquid filling. I did not have this problem. I will point out that you have to cook the cornstarch mixture until it is clear and gelatinous before adding in the eggs. I then cooked it for a while longer until it was thick and passed the ribbon test.* Then I added the zest, butter and juice into there and cooked it some more. If you end up with a very runny product when you make this, you can always add more starch to thicken it up. I used to make this with flour, so just add a little at a time until it thickens. Keep in mind that this will affect flavor.)

Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Meringue (from Alton Brown)

Whip egg whites into stiff peaks.

4 egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 tbsp sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling.

*To test if your creme is thick enough stick the whisk into it and draw swirls on top of the creme with the ribbon hanging down. If the ribbons stay visible on top of the mixture for about 4 seconds without flattening out it’s pretty thick. At least this is how I do it.

First slice of pie. I left the pie in the fridge overnight, but I think it would be best after a few chilling hours.

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About majathebee
When planning dinner, my first idea is dessert.

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