Lemon meringue pie… I absolutely love it. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it also happens to be my grandmother’s favorite pie. I don’t know if I have a favorite pie (I just love them all so much!) but if I had to choose one, lemon meringue would definitely be in the running. I love the smooth tartness of the lemon custard and the seemingly endless waves of meringue piled up on top all golden brown.
That was the vision I had as I prepared my very first lemon meringue pie. I’ve never made meringue for anything before but I thought I could handle it. After all, I have a general idea of the premise of how to make meringue. I beat and I beat and I beat. I thought I had it to the “stiff peaks” point but clearly I didn’t because as I topped my lemon custard with the eggs whites I found myself struggling to get those big, beautiful curls of meringue on top. I thought perhaps I was doing it wrong but then I realized I probably should have continued to beat those egg whites. Ahhh… lesson learned.
Fortunately, what my meringue lacked in height it did not lack in taste! The pie came out wonderfully tart and sweet while the meringue was light and airy. However, I am determined to conquer the meringue! So, don’t be surprised if my next post happens to be something topped with meringue as well. That’s a distinct possibility!
Lemon Meringue Pie by Alton Brown via Food Network
4 egg yolks (reserve the whites!)
1/3 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell (cool completely)
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar
– Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
– Pre-bake the pie crust and cool completely.
– Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing 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 ladle-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 the lemon mixture into the pre-baked pie crust.
– 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.
– Top hot lemon mixture with meringue while filling is still hot. 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.