Lemon meringue pie is a crowd-pleaser, no doubt about it. In this world, there are two kinds of people. There are chocolate lovers, and there are lemon lovers.
Chocolate lovers can easily get a fix at the check-out of any grocery store. It may not be Norman Love, but it can do in a pinch.
Lemon lovers have to go a little further to quell their desire. Their lust for lemon is legit. And, that itch is harder to scratch.
Never Ever Bake A Lemon Meringue Pie For Someone You Don’t Love
The rewards you receive for such a labor of love are enormous, but you will earn them. No step is difficult, but there are three steps. And there will be dirty dishes. Lots of dirty dishes.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’m all about making great food. However, I’m also big on getting in and out of the kitchen fast.
There are exceptions, though. Like when you really, really love someone. If you know they really, really love something, you will sacrifice and make it for them with love.
I admit it’s not on a par with what Jack did for Rose when he allowed her to stay afloat on that piece of wood as the Titanic sank. But there will be dishes to wash.
Separate Three Cold Eggs To Start The Magic Of Lemon Meringue Pie
Before you do anything else, separate three large or extra-large eggs right- out-of-the-refrigerator cold. It’s easier. Break up the egg yolks with a fork and beat them slightly.
Let the whites sit in the bowl while you make the crust and filling. They will whip up in greater volume at room temperature. This will make the meringue stand up taller and look more impressive.
Do You Want An Easy Pie Crust Or Do You Want To Work Harder
Let’s start with pie crust. Lemon meringue pie is all about the sweet-tart, buttery filling. The magic that happens when the meringue touches your tongue and melts in your mouth.
The crust definitely plays only a supporting role. I’m telling you there is nothing wrong with a “store-bought” crust for this pie. Nothing. But if you love rolling out pie crust, by all means, go for it.
I took a moderate stance and used an oil-based pie crust recipe you pat directly into the pie plate with your hands. Simple, flaky, and really good. I call it Patty Cake Pie Crust. You may want to try it!
This photo was taken the first time I made it. I used a taller pie plate this time so I could not flute the edges. Dumb. It was just as tasty though.
Next Make The Luscious Lemony Filling For That Beautiful Pie Crust
Lemon pie uses simple ingredients you probably have in your cupboard and refrigerator. I will say that for it. And, not a single step is difficult. You can do this!
The filling begins with cornstarch and sugar. Whisk them together in a heavy saucepan and then add water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. It will develop a thick, translucent sauce-like consistency.
Grab that bowl of slightly beaten egg yolks and bring it to the stove. Pour a small amount of the hot sugar mixture into the bowl of egg yolks.
Immediately, stir it together vigorously with a fork. This “tempers” the egg yolks so they will cook into the filling evenly. Now you can whisk the egg yolks right into the filling. Cook it for about a minute, whisking constantly.
Remove the saucepan from the stove and set it on a heat-safe surface. Stir in the butter, lemon juice, lemon extract, and lemon peel. The crust is ready to welcome the lemony mixture with open arms. Pour it in and smooth it out.
How To Make A Marvelous Mile High Meringue
Here are some things that will make your meringue taller and prettier.
- Use large or extra-large eggs. More egg white, more volume.
- Separate carefully. Any egg yolk left in the white will affect the height.
- Egg whites at room temperature will allow more air to be incorporated.
- Stabilize the egg whites with cream of tartar.
- Use a scrupulously clean glass or metal bowl. Never use a plastic bowl.
Add the cream of tartar and the vanilla to the egg whites and start whipping. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time. Don’t rush this. The sugar needs to dissolve completely. You will be rewarded.
Feel the meringue between your fingers or on your tongue as you go. The sugar should become nearly unnoticeable. It should feel smooth, not gritty.
Stop every couple of tablespoons and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. I allowed about a minute for each tablespoon of sugar. I used the time between spoonsful to tidy up the kitchen.
Look at that mountain of meringue! Use the back of a smallish spoon to carefully distribute the cloud of meringue gently across the surface of the filling. Leave the center of the pie taller. Leave lots of peaks to brown!
Pay careful attention to where the crust and meringue meet. Make sure the meringue touches and sticks to the edge of the crust. This will prevent the meringue from shrinking away from the edges.
Your Marvelous Lemon Meringue Masterpiece Is Nearly Ready For Showtime
Put the pie in a hot 400-degree oven. I like the rack to be about one-third of the way from the top of the oven.
It will brown quickly, it only takes 8 to 12 minutes. You want the meringue to be a delicate brown with deeper brown peaks.
Take the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool in a spot without a draft. Don’t rush this step either. This helps to keep the meringue from “weeping.”
Now here is the hard part. Let the pie cool completely. It will take a while! The bottom of the pie plate should be room temperature. Be patient before you even think about cutting into it.
Use a sharp non-serrated knife. Run the blade under hot water before cutting the pie. If the meringue doesn’t cut into perfectly Pinterest-worthy servings, it will still taste amazing!
The reward comes from doing something special for someone you love. When you see their eyes light up with joy, the dirty dishes will be long-forgotten!
Patty Cake Pie Crust
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, aids in browning
- 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
Lemon Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1 or 2 tsp fresh lemon peel, or dried lemon peel from the spice aisle
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- Make the crust.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until everything is evenly moistened and just until all the flour is incorporated.
- Roll the dough into a ball.
- Place the dough ball in the center of a 9-inch pie plate.
- Use your fingers to pat and push the crust into shape.
- Flute the edges of the crust if desired.
- Prick the crust all over with a fork to prevent shrinking.
- Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 12 to 16 minutes and crust is golden brown.
- Set the crust aside to cool.
- Make the lemon filling.
- Whisk together the sugar and the cornstarch in a heavy saucepan until well blended.
- Whisk in the cold water.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and becomes translucent, whisking constantly. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Spoon some of the hot sugar mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Immediately stir together vigorously with a fork until combined.
- Slowly pour the egg yolks back into the sugar mixture. Return to the stove, cooking and whisking constantly for about one minute.
- Remove the pan from the stove. Stir in butter, lemon extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the surface evenly with a spatula.
- Make the meringue.
- Begin beating the egg whites with a whip attachment, then add the cream of tartar and the vanilla.
- Continue beating until soft peaks begin to form.
- Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating about a minute with each spoonful.
- Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure there is no sugar clinging to the sides of the bowl.
- Taste the meringue or rub it between your fingers. It should feel smooth, not gritty. Do not under beat.
- Put meringue on top of the filling and smooth it evenly over the surface using the back of a spoon.
- Leave the meringue in the center of the pie taller and leave lots of peaks.
- Make sure the meringue touches and sticks to the edges of the crust so it does not shrink.
- Bake 8-12 minutes in a 400-degree oven until the meringue is a delicate brown and the peaks are slightly darker.
- Remove the pie from the oven and set it in a draft-free spot to cool.
- Let the pie cool completely before cutting. This could take up to 2 hours.
- Cover and refrigerate leftover pie.
Do you have a special someone who loves a certain something that’s a little harder to make? Like a special birthday cake or another treat? I’d love to hear your story!
GB’s Kitchen is definitely a place where everything is made with love, even the hard stuff!!
If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you!
Love, GB (Betty Streff)