May 24, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!  Hope you will have nice weather and get to enjoy some good times with family and friends.  We started our weekend with two of the grandkids spending the night, which is always a delight. I just love cooking for company, even the little ones!

I actually made this lemon meringue pie for Easter as a treat for my husband and son.  They both have mentioned to me on several occasions how much they like it, but I politely ignored them for a long time.  For me, lemon meringue pie has never been my thing, and I've certainly never made it before.  However, I like to challenge myself, so I decided Easter was the perfect time to give it a try for my two most favorite boys.  

I have to admit that I was very surprised at how much I actually liked this pie....I really didn't think I would, but it was absolutely delicious!  Such a light and refreshing dessert - what more could you ask for!?!  I am sold on this pie and will definitely be making it again.  What a nice surprise.

Lemon Meringue Pie (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1½ cups water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
⅛ tsp salt
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice (juice of about 3 lemons)
2 Tb unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces

⅓ cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup sugar

1 single pie crust, baked & cooled

Filling: Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring the water, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a simmer in large saucepan, whisking constantly. When mixture starts to turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in lemon zest, juice and butter. Return mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat. Lay sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep warm and prevent skin from forming.

Meringue: Bring water and cornstarch to simmer in small saucepan and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened and translucent - about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, whip egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar on med-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to med-high and beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms soft, billowy peaks. Add the cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until it's glossy with stiff peaks, about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during the last minute or so of beating the meringue (you want to make sure the filling is hot).  Pour warm filling into cooled pre-baked pie crust. Add the meringue mixture and using rubber spatula, immediately distribute it evenly around edge and then center of pie, making sure to push it to edges to prevent shrinking. Using the back of spoon, create attractive swirls and peaks in the meringue. Bake until meringue is a light golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let pie cool on wire rack until filling is set, about 2 hours. Serves 8.  Store in the refrigerator. 


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