I love lemon meringue pie, although I’ve never made one before, I decided that Easter would be a perfect opportunity to do so! It looks like there’s a lot of steps – pre-baked pie shell, cooking the filling, making meringue, and the more steps, the more things that can go wrong. But it’s actually pretty easy, and I decided that even if I screwed it up and it was inedible – there’s always ice cream in the fridge!
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons shortening, chilled
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening to the flour mixture, and cut until the mix resembles large peas. Add the ice water and mix with your hands until the dough comes together. Form into a ball, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
2. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thickness on a well floured surface. Ease dough into pie plate, crimp the edges, and chill for 15 minutes. This will help the dough from shrinking.
3. Preheat oven to 425º, remove dough from fridge, and prick the bottom on the crust with a fork. Line the pie with parchment or foil, and fill with pie weight or beans to hold the crust in place. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pie weights, and parchment/foil.
4. Lower the temperature to 375º, place crust back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely before filling.
For the filling:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the mixture thickens and reaches a simmer.
- Whisk often until it comes to a simmer and turns translucent, then whisk in egg yolks one at a time. Add zest, lemon juice, and butter, whisking constantly while it comes to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and place plastic wrap on the surface to avoid a skin from forming.
For the meringue:
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature – make sure they’re fresh
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, whisking until the mixture thickens. Once it simmers and turns translucent, remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325º, and place oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Stir the cream of tartar and sugar together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sugar is fully incorporated. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the cornstarch mixture 1 tablespoon at a time while the mixture is still beating, until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the lemon filling, and return it to the stove. Warm it up for a minute over medium heat.
- When the meringue is ready, pour the filling into the pie shell, and smooth out with a spatula. Using a spoon, begin to spoon small amounts of the meringue over the filling. Make sure the meringue is touching the crust so that there is no shrinkage. Add spoonfuls to the center until the entire top of the pie is filled. Use the bottom of the spoon to make decorative peaks on the surface.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely. It’s best to serve the same day.