Dec 7, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

I love lemons and lemon meringue pie.  This was another pie that I made for Thanksgiving.  You will never use a box of lemon pie filling after trying this lemon custard.  It is very easy to make and I made it the day before and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to bake the pie.
for the pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

for the meringue
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 large egg whites (room temp)
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out a pie crust in crushed graham crackers.   Bake crust lined with foil and pie weights for 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  See aside to cool.  
2. for the filling: Bring the water, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.  
3.  When the mixture turns translucent, whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time.  Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice and then the butter.  Return to a brief simmer and then remove from heat.
4.  Either pour into the cooled pie shell or place in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed on the top and refrigerate until ready to use.   If placing directly in the shell - chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
5.  for the meringue:  Adjust the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat and cook until slightly thickened and syrupy (235 degrees), 3 - 4 minutes.  
6. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer on medium-low until foamy (1 minute).  Increase the mixter to medium-high and whip until the whites are shiny and soft peaks form (1 to 3 minutes)
7.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the hot syrup.  Add the vanilla, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to whip until the mixture has cooled (6 minutes).
8.  Dallop the meringue evenly over the top of the lemon filling - creating swirls and peaks.  Bake until the meringue turns golden brown - (6 minutes).  Cool on a wire rack. 

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