Lemon Meringue Pie

The Papa’s Kitchen

We have all eaten a slice – -well at least most of us, and if you google this you will find thousands of recipes.   I try to keep mine simple and I’ve done this one many times before.  It always turns out great – and very, very, very lemony, which is how I like it.   I don’t use a box for the curd or filling, but rather make my own.  Here’s the recipe:

1 – 9” pie crust, baked (I used a store-bought crust cause I was in a hurry – dumb mistake)

LEMON CURD:

4 large egg yolks (whites reserved)

1 cup of sugar

5 tablespoons of cornstarch

½  cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (please don’t use the bottled stuff)

2 tsp gently packed lemon zest

½ tsp of salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (see – I told you everything is better with butter)

MERINGUE:

5 large egg whites (your reserve)

¾  cup of sugar

¼  tsp of cream of tartar

 Pinch of fine sea salt

½  tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CURD:

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Add the lemon juice and 1 ½ cups of water and whisk to combine.  Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl.  Place the sugar mixture over medium heat and cook, continuing to gently whisk, until the mixture begins to bubble and become extremely thick.  Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding half of the hot sugar mixture to the yolks while constantly whisking.  Add the tempered yolks to the saucepan and return to heat.  Bring the entire mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, for about 1 minute. 

Remove the curd from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest until completely melted and incorporated. 

Pour the curd (filling) directly into the pie crust and cover with a plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the filling.   Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before you begin to make the meringue.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MERINGUE:

In the bowl of your electric mixer or a glass bowl, combine the reserved four egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, and salt.   Whisk all this to combine and place over simmering water (the double boiler trick again).  Continue to whisk this by hand until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches about 108 degrees F if you’re particular.  Remove this then from the heat (the sugar should be melted and incorporated in the egg whites at this point) and transfer your bowl to the stand mixer.

Using the whisk attachment, whisk the meringue on medium speed, increasing to medium-high until the egg whites cool to room temperature – which should take 3-5 minutes.  Continue to whisk at this point until the meringue becomes thick and holds stiff peaks – another 4-5 minutes.

Once you have stiff peaks in the bowl, whisk in a little vanilla extract.   Then add the meringue to the prepared and chilled lemon pie.   NOTE: Use an off-set spatula to make sure the meringue completely covers the filling and meets the curst all around the edges.  ( This will seal in the filling and help prevent weeping).  You can use your spatula to create peaks and swirls.

Now the fun part!   Using a kitchen torch or a broiler setting on your oven, brown the meringue and then serve and enjoy!!!

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