Thursday, April 8, 2010

Never fail lemon meringue pie

Years ago, making a lemon meringue pie was never a sure thing. Sometimes the filling looked right while cooking it, but once it was baked into a pie, I was never sure until I cut a piece whether I would serve it on a plate or in a bowl.

Thanks to a good friend giving me a recipe for the filling made in a microwave, my pie is now perfect every time.
This photo of the cut pie is from the internet. I didn't think to take a photo until it was too late. I could have taken a picture of crumbs and smears on used plates, but that wouldn't have been very pretty.
Now on to the recipe!

Make your favorite pie shell and bake it. Pie pastry is not my strong point. I use Pillsbury or Kroger pie pastries from the dairy case or a frozen shell and bake as directed.

For the filling, I use my 8 cup Pyrex batter bowl and add
1 2/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk these ingredients well and cook in your microwave. The original directions called for full power, 5-6 minutes. I have found that 8 minutes usually works for me. You will need to stir after each minute of cooking so I set my microwave timer for 8 minutes and stir when it reaches 7, then 6 and so on. Your mixture will be watery the first few times, then begin to thicken. At the end the mixture will come together beautifully thick, be that at 5 minutes or the full 8 minutes it takes mine.

Remove from the microwave and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour the filling into your waiting pie shell. Resist the urge to lick your spoon or rubber spatula. The filling is very hot and will burn your tongue. Not that I know that first hand or anything.

For the meringue, in a clean bowl, beat with an electric mixer until foamy
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, and continue to beat until this is glossy and stiff peaks form. 
Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat that in

I spoon large dollops of the meringue onto the hot filling and work it to the edges of the crust. You'll want to cover the edge of the crust, not just meet it in order to prevent shrinkage and weeping. You can smooth the surface of the meringue or make dips and swirls with the tip of a spoon as I did here. I do it this way because that is how my mom did it.

Bake your pie at 400* for 8-10 minutes, until your meringue is a delicate brown. Cool your pie away from drafts.

This was the pie I served on Easter Sunday.
Thank goodness it is all gone. It can be addictive!


Kelli said...

Beautiful, Knitty! A pretty pie is a thing to be proud of and something I seldom manage to create. My pies are usually quite ugly, but since they're typically yummy I don't worry too much about the appearance. ;) Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'll definitely give it a try.

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU for that keeper of a recipe!!! My filling oozes out as soon as that first piece is SPOONED out...argh...will try this!

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness I just LOVE lemon meringue pie! sandie

Erica Mueller said...

Thank you so much for this recipe!! Lemon Meringue is my favorite pie ever and I have never made it myself until today. It turned out perfectly and I was so nervous bc I have heard its a hard one to bake. Thank you and I blame you for the 5 lbs that I will gain this month just by knowing this recipe!:)