I find myself referring back here, to feasting with friends, quite often to refresh my mind on recipes. In the last week alone I’ve retrieved my recipes for Corky’s Cole Slaw, Kielbasa Relish, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Gyros, Mediterranean Oven Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Meringue Pie.
If I’ve proven anything to myself, it’s that I tend to post the foods that we eat… if not often, than more than just once. There are a lot of recipes posted here that have proven themselves to me, time and time again, as “good food”.
“Good food”, to me, is food that makes the rotation in our menus. Food (whether made weekly, monthly or yearly) I frequently prepare. Which, in looking back, is the reason feasting with friends was started. It was (and is) a place for me to “catalog” the recipes for myself, my kids (though I do love receiving the phone calls of “how do you make…”), the friends and family we host in our home and the lovely followers of this site!.
I’ve certainly posted recipes that I’ve only made once, as well. I’ve only made the Chou Farci Irish American Edition once. Same for Funnel Cakes. But most of the recipes I feature are tried and true.
Like this Lemon Meringue Pie. I only started making it a few years back, yet I’ve made it at least a dozen times. I love this recipe. I love it so much I made it for my recent birthday dessert!
It was upon the retrieval of the recipe that I realized the photos were quite bad! In my defense, they were taken before rushing out the door to a Thanksgiving feast at a relative’s home… but really, I must set higher standards for myself. 😉
So it was while in the process of making this birthday pie that I made the decision to pull out the camera and re-document this outstanding dessert. I tried to take pics, step by step, along the way. I happen to be more of a “visual” learner, and if anything these photos may just help me make this pie for my 80th birthday!
Lemon Meringue Pie
For the CORN STARCH PASTE:
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
For the CRUST:
Homemade or premade crust for 9-inch pie
For the FILLLING:
3 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated from 2 lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice, strained from 2-3 lemons
4 egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue)
1¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ cup cold water
2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted, cut in small pieces
For the MERINGUE:
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup superfine sugar (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Note: Standard sugar can be processed with a metal blade in a food processor for 1 minute to achieve superfine status.
For the CORNSTARCH PASTE:
In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch and water. Whisk until well combined and no lumps remain. Heat to boiling, while stirring constantly, just until the mixture turns translucent and thickens. Remove from heat. Scrape the paste into a small bowl, cover and set aside to cool for use in the meringue.
For the CRUST:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place dough in a pie plate; crimp edges as desired. Using a fork, prick the dough several times to prevent puffing of the crust. Place a piece of foil or parchment on the dough and pour either pie weights or dried beans to further prevent puffing and bulging. Bake about 7 minutes; remove the foil/parchment and weights/beans; continue baking for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cool crust on wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
For the FILLING:
Grate the zest from 2 lemons to measure 2-3 teaspoons.
Squeeze lemons to make 1/2 cup juice.
Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in the bowl of a mixer (reserved for meringue).
In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water. Set burner heat to medium and stirring constantly, cook the mixture until very thick (2-3 minutes). Temporarily remove from heat (keep the burner set to medium).
Whisk the lemon juice into the egg yolks. Carefully add a spoonful of the hot, thickened filling to the yolk/juice. Whisk well to combine. Repeat with 2 more spoonfuls.
While whisking, slowly pour the tempered yolk filling into the pot of thickened filling. Return the pot over the hot burner and cook until very thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and lemon zest; set aside for assembly of pie.
For the MERINGUE:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until very frothy/foamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon or so at a time, mixing well with each addition.
Increase speed to high and continue beating until whites hold stiff peaks, scrape down bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla and the cornstarch paste (1 Tablespoon at a time). Return speed to medium for 30 seconds or so until well incorporated.
To ASSEMBLE the PIE:
Pour the filling in the baked pie shell.
Spoon large dollops of meringue around the pie edge. Smooth and adjust the meringue; there should be no gaps between the crust and meringue. Place the remaining meringue on the center of the filling; covering the filling completely.
Create peaks in the meringue by using the back of a spoon. Gently push the spoon in the meringue, then pull the spoon up to create peaks. Try not to overwork the meringue, or you’ll risk it flattening during baking.
Bake in the preset 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is light brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.
Notes: DO NOT refrigerate the pie until it has cooled completely…you’ll risk condensation separating the layers.
Do not cover the pie in plastic wrap…once again, condensation will form. Instead, loosely cover the pie with tented foil.
This pie tastes best if eaten the same day it is baked.