Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie is one of the most fabulous pies that I make. I mean it. Lemon Meringue Pie melds the best of sweet and sour with a luscious lemon filling, then it’s topped off with a wonderful meringue. Lemon juice and zest is mixed with sugar, eggs, cornstarch and butter and after it cooks it’s poured into a pre-baked pie shell, topped with the meringue and then slow baked again until the meringue is very lightly browned.
Lemon Meringue Pie isn’t the easiest pie in the world to make. And I always make the pie crust from scratch, which took me an additional 15 minutes because I was making enough for 2 pies and Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls at the same time. You have to make sure you completely stir the sugar and cornstarch and get all the lumps out before adding the boiling water or the filling will be lumpy. 🙁 . You also have to cook it over a low heat so it doesn’t scorch, and long enough that it will thicken properly. It’s not necessarily a pie you can whip out really quickly like a fruit pie.
After the filling is done, the meringue needs to be made and it can’t be hurried. If you add the sugar too quickly while you are beating the egg whites the meringue will “weep” after it bakes. That means in will start running and a gooey syrup will ooze along the edge of the pie crust. I try not to add more than about a teaspoon every 30-45 seconds or so. You do the math. It takes time to get through a full half cup of sugar. But even though it may take longer adding the sugar this way, you will end up with a superior meringue.
You also need to spread the meringue to the edge of the pie or it will shrink back while cooking. I cook the meringue in a very slow oven (300 degrees) for about 15-20 minutes or as long as it takes to very lightly brown the top. I don’t like scorched tops so I take extra care with the meringue. You also have to pierce the unbaked pie shell with a fork on the bottom and sides so the crust won’t shrink while baking.
In spite of all that, Lemon Meringue Pie is one of the BEST pies you’ll ever eat if you make it right. Even when I’ve tried to rush it and the meringue weeps or is too brown on top, this is still an excellent pie. When we visited John’s family over the Christmas holidays I asked Bill, John’s step-father, what kind of dessert he wanted me to make while we were there. He asked for Lemon Pie and Chocolate Pie. So I made a Lemon Meringue Pie and a Chocolate Meringue Pie. They were eating slices of one pie or another the whole time we were there.
Mom never refrigerated her Lemon Meringue or Chocolate Meringue Pies for at least a couple of days after baking because the meringue tends to develop syrup bubbles on the top. But for the purpose of cutting the pie easily I went ahead and refrigerated them beforehand.
This Lemon Pie is not my mom’s recipe. I discovered this in a Fanny Farmer Cookbook right out of high school. It was a dessert that I could make back then that wasn’t super expensive and the directions were pretty good. I’ve made this pie for Thanksgiving dinner a lot over the past several decades. It’s always been a show stopper, and a dessert everyone has wanted to sink their teeth into instead of Pumpkin Pie!
If you’re looking for a sensational pie and you’re not afraid of a little hard work, Lemon Meringue Pie is mouthwatering and unbelievably delicious. If you have the time necessary to to take each step slowly and thoroughly, I recommend this Lemon Meringue Pie recipe as the best Lemon Pie I’ve ever made or tasted.
Make no mistake about it, this pie can be considered a “high maintenance pie” that’s going to require “babying” through the stages. Take your time and cook at lower temperatures rather than scorch the filling or the meringue. Many of the “hints” in this post came from the Fanny Farmer cookbook or from my failures in making this recipe in the past. Hopefully, if you follow the tips you’ll be able to present a beautiful pie to your family and friends.
This Lemon Meringue Pie is spectacular. The lemon filling is sweet from the sugar and has a tang from the lemon juice and lemon zest.
Lemon Meringue Pie is a little more work and high maintenance than some desserts, but it is so worth it. This pie is heavenly.
Everyone had their fill of Lemon Meringue Pie over the Christmas holidays when this luscious pie was served.
Here’s what I did.
Roll out pie crust and fit into pie plate. Flute edges. With a fork, pierce through the crust in several locations. You will also need to pierce up along the sides so the dough won’t shrink while baking.
Bake pie 10-15 minutes at 350 or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool completely.
Stir together in a medium-sized saucepan the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Make sure you stir the mixture so well that no lumps remain. Add boiling water.
Whisk well to combine.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow filling to cook over low heat until mixture thickens – about 10 minutes or so. (I have had this step take as long as 20 minutes).
Add egg yolks, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Heat through until thickened.
Remove from heat. Cool.
Pour lemon filling into cooled crust.
To make meringue, place egg whites in a large mixing bowl.
Beat egg whites until the beginning stages of stiffness. Begin adding sugar 1 teaspoon at a time about every 30-60 seconds and continue mixing with electric mixer until the entire half cup of sugar is used up and egg whites have become stiff. If you add more than 1 teaspoon of sugar at each addition the meringue will weep after it’s cooked. If you add the sugar too early, it will also weep.
Here the meringue is finally whipped enough and the sugar, lemon juice and salt has been added.
Spread meringue over top of lemon filling. Cover meringue to the edges of the pie so it doesn’t shrink while baking.
Bake pie in 300 oven until delicately brown about 15-20 minutes. Don’t overbake or the meringue will be tough. Your oven may only take 5-10 minutes if it runs hot.
Garnish Lemon Meringue pie will additional lemon zest, lemon slices or raspberries, if desired.
Lemon Meringue Pie was one of the pies I made for Thanksgiving for years. We’ve always liked it better than Pumpkin Pie!
This is always a favorite dessert when I take it to potlucks or family gatherings.
Here’s the recipe.
LEMON MERINGUE PIE
(Recipe adapted from Fanny Farmer Cookbook)
- [b]LEMON FILLING:[/b][br]
- 4 tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 tbsp. [url href=”http://www.goldmedalflour.com/” target=”_blank” title=”gold medal flour”]Gold Medal[/url] UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 1 tbsp. [url href=”http://www.landolakes.com/” target=”_blank” title=”land o’ lakes unsalted butter”]Land O’ Lakes[/url] unsalted butter
- Few gratings lemon rind
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- [url href=”http://cantstayoutofthekitchen.com/2012/12/05/homemade-pie-crust/” target=”_blank” title=”homemade pie crust”]Baked pie shell[/url][br]
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice or ½ tsp. vanilla
- Dash of salt
- Mix in a medium saucepan the cornstarch, flour, salt and sugar.
- Add boiling water.
- Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils.
- Lower heat, cover and cook about 10 minutes. (I have had this take as long as 20 minutes).
- Add butter, lemon rind, lemon juice and egg yolks.
- Cook and stir until thick.
- Prepare and bake a 9” pie shell.
- Using 4 egg whites make meringue.
- Pile the filling into the cooled shell.
- Spoon the meringue on top, spreading well to the edge.
- Bake at 300° until delicately brown (15-20 minutes).[br]
- Put egg whites in a medium sized bowl.
- Beat with mixer until soft peaks form when you lift out the beater.
- Beat in 1 tsp. at a time the sugar; add salt and lemon juice.
- Spoon the meringue evenly over the pie but do not make it too smooth.
- Spread well to the edge so that the meringue will not shrink as it bakes.
- If a meringue “weeps,” too much sugar was used or the sugar was too coarse.
- To cut a meringue pie easily, dip the knife in hot water.
Your guests will rave over Lemon Meringue Pie.
This pie is so rich that we had to cut the slices in half!
If you enjoy lemon, you won’t be able to stop eating this amazing pie.