Hardly any dessert can compete with the sweet and tart combination of a classic Lemon Meringue Pie. But this dessert doesn’t come without a price. It can be kind of tricky to make…if you don’t have clear direction. Fortunately, I’ve got just the recipe to bring this fresh pie into your home kitchen.
And to make this recipe even easier, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Be sure not to get any egg yolks into the egg whites while separating the two. Remember, eggs separate most easily while cold, but egg whites whip best at room temperature. As you heat your mixtures, make sure to whisk constantly so the eggs don’t start to cook. Strain the lemon filling if you do notice any egg flakes.
- To avoid that dreaded weeping, make sure your lemon filling is hot before topping it with the meringue. A tiny bit of cornstarch in the meringue can also help absorb moisture and keep the egg whites from being overcooked.
- To avoid the shrinking of the meringue, spread the topping so that it touches the edges of the crust. This will make the meringue adhere to the crust and stop it from pulling away during the baking.
- For clean slices, dip the knife into a glass of warm water before each cut. Or, wipe the knife with a damp cloth after each cut. Both methods prevent the meringue from sticking to the knife.
- For the Meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 4 Tbsp white sugar
- For the Pie:
- 1 (9") ready-to-bake pie crust
- 4 egg yolks
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 5 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups cold water
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juiceZest of 2 lemons
Bake the pie crust according to the package instructions and let the crust cool completely. Set aside. Place an oven rack on the middle level and preheat to 375°F.
To make the meringue, fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
To prepare the pie, whisk the egg yolks in a medium-size bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt, and cold water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes, until thickened. Add the butter and stir until completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat.
Pour half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and quickly whisk to temper the egg yolks. Return the egg mixture back into the sauce pot, add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and whisk until incorporated. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, then cook for about 6 minutes until thickened.
Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Rewhip the meringue for 30 seconds to bring it back to life. Spread the meringue over the pie, while lemon filling is still hot, making sure it goes all the way up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool the pie for 1 hour and then refrigerate it for up to 6 hours before serving.