I don’t know about you but once spring arrives (even if the weather doesn’t quite agree), I’m in the mood for lemon! Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon cookies…just bring on the lemon.
I thought the week of Easter would be a great time to share a recipe for lemon meringue pie, which I just started making a few months ago. My SIL, Joan, loves lemon meringue pie and I made her one for Christmas (everyone got a home made pie for Christmas last year since we were too po for many store-bought ones). It was my first ever lemon meringue pie, and as firsts sometimes go, it was bad. I didn’t read the instructions close enough and the filling never set up. It was lemon soup pie. Thankfully, I had enough time to make a second, which turned out well.
To my surprise, after licking the spoon which I used to scrape the filling into the crust, I found I really liked lemon meringue pie, or at least the filling. You’d think a person who enjoys lemon desserts would assume that lemon meringue pie was the bomb-diggity, but no, I never had tasted a single bite because I was somehow sure it wasn’t worth eating. I know, right? I suddenly found myself dying to have a slice of lemon meringue pie, to taste it in its full glory, so I made it to bring to a dinner party in January. That single small slice was so good, I needed more, and made a whole pie just for Dennis and I. And together, we managed to eat the entire thing in a shamefully small period of time.
Personally, I would prefer this pie with a whipped cream topping. However, using the egg whites works so perfectly since you have them leftover after using the yolks in the filling. If you don’t mind using your egg whites for another purpose, feel free to use whipped cream here. I think that would be the magics.
Lemon Meringue Pie
4 egg yolks, room temperature (reserve whites for meringue)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 prebaked pie shell in a 9″ plate (deep dish if using a frozen crust)
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Stir the egg yolks together in a heatproof bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the water and turn on the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring, boiling until it is quite thick, at least one minute. Remove from heat.
Add a spoonful of the hot mixture to the egg yolks at a time, stirring in between additions, until 1/3-1/2 of the hot mixture has been added. Scrape the egg yolk mixture into the pan and whisk it all together. Return to the heat and cook for another minute while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, stirring until combined. Scrape into the baked pie crust; set aside.
For the meringue, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a stainless steel or glass bowl that is completely grease free and beat with completely grease-free beaters on medium speed for about a minute, or until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and beat in sugar gradually until glossy stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread over hot filling all the way to the edge, making sure the meringue touches the pie crust all the way around, to prevent shrinkage.
Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes or until meringue is light golden brown. Cool completely before slicing, about 4 hours.
Recipe source: adapted from the recipe on the back of a Pillsbury Pet-Ritz frozen pie crust package.
If you’re in a lemon mood, check the other lemon sweets on my blog: