I’ve been thinking about making this pie for way too long, and I’m so glad I finally had a reason to make it. In my family, pie is our number one go-to dessert. Of course we love cakes, candies, cookies, and bars, but I can say with certainty that the lot of us will choose a slice of pie with ice cream over anything else.
My Poppa’s birthday was this past weekend, and he requested a homemade lemon meringue pie. My secret to a perfect pie? Make it with love. Measure the ingredients like you are creating a masterpiece. Follow the instructions step by step, and bake slowly. Love what you bake, and love who you bake it for. It makes the eating process a sacred event.
While whipping together the filling for this pie, the smell of fresh lemons whisked through our kitchen for hours. The lemon particles lingered in the air and mixed with the cool breeze coming through the screen door. Even the light, lemony scent on my fingertips lasted until bed time.
Of course, eating the pie was the best part of the whole process. The filling was perfect, baked in a delicious homemade pie crust. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe because it is the absolute best recipe out there! Seriously.
- Prepared pie crust.
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 2 to 3 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup), at room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prepare your crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Trim edge to 1- inch overhang. Fold under and flute edges. Line with foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in bottom third of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Prick shell all over. Bake 10 minutes or until evenly golden. Let cool on rack.
- Get all of your filling ingredients ready to go - squeeze your lemons and grate the zest so that your filling can come together nicely.
- Over medium heat, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt thoroughly in a medium saucepan. Then whisk in water, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest until blended well. Whisk in egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue!) until no yellow streaks remain. Add unsalted butter.
- Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then cook for one minute. The filling should be very thick. Pour the filling into the pie crust.
- For meringue, in a cold metal bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft but definite peaks form. Very gradually beat in sugar. Beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff and glossy, but not dry. Add vanilla and vinegar.
- Immediately spread the meringue over a hot pie filling, anchoring it to the edge of the crust at all points. Place meringue VERY close to the crust, working inward.
- Put the pie back in the 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes (or until meringue has a nice brown top). The pie can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.
-Lemon filling adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook, and makes enough filling for one 9-inch pie.
-When applying the meringue to the pie, make sure to spread a band of topping around the edge of the crust or dish before you fill the centre. If you cover the centre first, you are likely to displace some of the filling and cause it to spill over!