Lemon Meringue Pie

My father-in-law had his hip replaced just over four months ago… July 5th.  That meant that he had to fast after a certain time on the 4th of July.  What a day to have to fast, eh? 

Well, we asked him ahead of time what he would want as his ‘last meal’ before the big surgery.  To be honest, I don’t even remember what we had for dinner that night.  All I remember is that he asked for lemon meringue pie for dessert.  I offered to make it. 

Umm, hi.  I had never made a lemon meringue pie before, at least not by myself.  But I was brave enough to try.  That’s saying something, right?  And if it hadn’t worked out, I would have grabbed one at the store.  Actually, I would have cried, then I would have sent Anthony to the store to pick one up.  And then I would have cried some more.  Luckily, the pie was a lot easier to make than I had anticipated.  It helped that it was pretty much delicious, too.  My father-in-law was impressed.  Does that count?

Yes, the answer is yes.  Grin and nod your head for me…

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lemon 1

The crust I used was from The Pioneer Woman and it was so flaky and so light!  We loved it.  The only think I can suggest to make it the best is to use the butter flavored shortening.  I made two batches just to try them both out.  The one with regular shortening was a little bit bland for my liking but hey, do what suits you best!  Oh, and don’t be too freaked out by the vinegar.  Supposedly it helps the crust be more flakey.  It certainly was and I promise it did NOT compromise the taste.  This is my new ‘go to’ pie crust recipe.  LOVE!!

 

Pie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I prefer the butter flavored)
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 T. cold water (get a cup of ice water and scoop from there)
  • 1 T. White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt

 

In a food processor, combine shortening and flour.  Pulse several times until it starts to form coarse crumbs, about pea size.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you can combine them in a large bowl with a pastry cutter.  It will probably take about 3-4 minutes.  It should resemble coarse crumbs.) 

Add beaten egg to food processor (or bowl) followed by the water, vinegar and salt.  Pulse in food processor until it pulls together.  (Or stir in bowl gently until they are all incorporated.)  Be sure not to over mix. 

Form into 2 or 3 evenly sized balls, place each in a zip top bag and flatten slightly into a round disc.  I did 2 balls because dividing it into 3 made them too small for me to work with.  They can be frozen at this point for another time or put into the fridge for about 15-30 minutes to firm up and make them easier to work with. 

When ready to roll out, lightly flour a flat surface and the top of the dough.  Roll dough starting at the center, working your way out.  Roll until it’s larger than the diameter of your pie pan.  Once it’s rolled out, transferring to the pan can get a bit tricky.  I like to lightly roll it up on my rolling pin and then lift it over the pan and unroll.  Does that make sense?  I hope so. 

Now make sure to tuck it into the bottom edges of the pan.  Trim around the edges with scissors so it’s still slightly hanging off the edges.  Maybe 1/2 inch or so.  Now beautify the edges.  I wish I knew how to explain how to do this.  If you don’t know how, I suppose you could Google it (Google is all-knowing ;) ).

Poke several holes in the bottom of the crust and even up on the edges with a  fork.  This will help prevent bubbles from forming while baking.  (This step is only for pies that need a prebaked shell)

Bake in a preheated 425* oven for 12-15 minutes or until just slightly golden.

 

The Lemon Meringue Pie comes from Alton Brown.  It really was easy and so good!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Filling:
  • 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1 T. finely grated lemon zest

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and set aside.

Combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Use a whisk to stir. Turn to medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Stir frequently.  Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add small spoonfuls of hot mixture to yolks whisking between each spoonful to temper the eggs.  Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly.  Boil again for 1 more minute – this should be very thick.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and even onto the crust.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Cool pie completely before slicing and serving. 

Meringue Topping:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add sugar gradually.  Continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. 

**I used the back of a spoon to lift the meringue into peaks in some spots.**

I really hope you get a chance to make this soon!  Thanksgiving is coming up next week and my father-in-law is requesting that I make this again.  How could I say no?  I’m looking forward to it!

Oh, and by the way… you’d never know he had anything wrong with hip, ever.  He was back to riding a bike within just a couple of weeks.  He amazes me!!

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