This is blasphemy.
Citrus? As a sweet?
Typically, a dessert is not a dessert for me if it is not oozing with chocolate.
Which is why making this lemon meringue pie is so out of character.
I was given a huge bag of lemons from my Aunt and I had no idea why she gave them to me or what I would do with them. So I did a word association with Chris and told him to tell me the first thing he thinks of when he hears the word lemon.
So here we are.
Despite not being a huge pie fan, I still felt compelled to make my own crust. So at the least, I could enjoy the best part of pie – the flaky, buttery crust. Besides, using a store bought crust just felt wrong to me. But I won’t judge.
This pie made me like pie. The crust, oh the crust! Who doesn’t love crust aka baked butter? It was everything I imagined it would be. And the custard was very tart and bold in lemon flavor. The meringue was light, airy and not overly sweet which was the perfect balance to the heavy custard.
I will surely make this again, though I still prefer my molten chocolate cakes. A leopard really can’t change its spots.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
Makes one awesome 9-inch pie
- One recipe pie dough below, shaped and chilled in a pie plate
- 4 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon) freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 14 ounces (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) water
- 17.5 ounces (2 1/3 cup) sugar, divided
- 1.5 ounces (1/4 cup) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small pieces
- pinch salt
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Place the lemon juice, water, and zest in a medium sized saucepan. Whisk together the cornstarch, 9 ounces (1 1/3 cup) sugar, and salt, and add it to the saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks then add them to the mixture and whisk continuously over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick and bubbles, 7 to 8 minutes. Whisk for an additional 2 minutes once it’s begun to bubble, without stopping, and then remove from heat. Whisk in the butter until it is completely melted. Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Allow the pie to come to room temperature, then chill for at least four hours (ideally, overnight) with the plastic wrap still on top.
*Before serving, fill a medium sized saucepan one quarter full of water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer. Combine egg whites, remaining sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl, and place over saucepan. (Like a double boiler). Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing between your fingers. Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer, and whip, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Remove the plastic from the top of the chilled pie and top with meringue. Place the pie under the broiler and watch it carefully, the top should brown but not burn, and it changes quickly. Chill for 10 minutes, then serve.
Pie dough (Påte Sucrée)
Recipe from Flour
Makes one fully baked 9-inch pie shell
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (140 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
*Using a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale and light. Scape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the flour mixes with the butter-sugar mixture. The mixture will look like wet sand. Add the egg yolk and continue to mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough comes together.
*Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. (At this point, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using.)
*If making a pie shell, have ready 9-inch pie pan dish. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Using a rolling pin, bang and flatten the dough into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Flour the work surface, and sprinkle the dough disk with a little flour. Roll out the dough into a circle 10 to 11 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick for a 9-inch pie shell. Make sure the work surface is well floured so the dough doesn’t stick to it, and make sure the disk itself is floured well enough to keep the rolling pin from sticking to it. Roll from the center of the disk outward, and gently rotate the disk a quarter turn after each roll to ensure the disk is evenly stretched into a nice circle. Don’t worry if the dough breaks a bit, especially towards the edges. You can easily patch any tears once you have lined the pan.
*Roll the dough circle around the pin and then unfurl it on top of the 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough well into the bottom and sides of the pan and use any scraps or odd pieces to patch up any tears or missing bits. Make sure the entire interior is well covered with the dough, and then press one last time all the way around to ensure any holes have been patched. Trim the edge of the dough so it is even with the rim of the pan.
*Refrigerate the pastry shell for at least 30 minutes. The gluten needs a little time to relax so the pastry doesn’t shrink in the oven. (The pastry shell can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Bake directly from the refrigerator or freezer.
*Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
*Bake for 30 to 55 minutes , or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Note: I made this recipe in three stages before serving. The night before I made the pie dough. In the morning I rolled it out and blind baked it. I also made the lemon custard before going to work so that it could chill in the refrigerator the whole day. When I came home, I made the meringue while my good friend Jackie cooked up dinner. Ta-da!