Friday, June 3, 2011

Lemon meringue pie

My husband had never had lemon meringue pie before. Can you imagine?

The homemade version is a wee bit time-consuming, but is absolutely worth the effort. You will never go back to pre-made versions again.

I used my standard pie crust recipe (2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup each milk and vegetable oil) and pre-baked it. Which means you weight the pie crust down with pie weights or dried uncooked rice or beans (to prevent it from rising or puffing up, though you don't need to do that with my pie crust recipe, as there is nothing to rise) and cook it at 400 until browned and mostly done. Brush with an egg yolk (to seal the pie crust, so the custard filling doesn't make it soggy) and let cool.

From The Joy of Cooking:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk together in a saucepan, add:

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2-3 teaspoons lemon zest

Whisk in until no yellow streaks remain:

4 egg yolks


2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces

Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring to a simmer, then cook until mixture is thick. Pour into pre-baked pie shell, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the filling. Go make the meringue. Beat on medium until foamy:

4 egg whites at room temperature

Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and continue beating until soft peaks form.

Add 1/2 cup sugar, gradually, and continue beating until peaks are stiff and glossy.

Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and immediately remove the plastic wrap from the pie and anchor the meringue to the filling at all points. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.


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