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Lemon Meringue Pie

This image courtesy of Brad Snyder

Most of our customers love this pie, but the ones who don't really hate it! It has old-school lemon flavor, which means it is tart. If you like your lemon with a little pucker, this pie is for you. If not, try the Lemon Soufflé or Lemon Chess pies. At the shop, we serve slices with a silver fork, since the citric acid can react with some flatware to cause a metallic taste.

NotesThe finished curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The finished pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not store at room temperature.Once you master this meringue--and it's not hard--you'll look for any excuse to make it. Sweet and creamy, it's perfect with tart citrus curd and bitter dark-chocolate desserts. The key is gently heating the egg whites and sugar over a hot-water bath before whipping them. The heat dissolves the sugar and "cooks" the raw egg whites to a safe temperature. Use it to top cupcakes and frost layer cakes. In addition to great flavor, meringue adds lots of visual drama for very little effort. It's even more fun if you have a torch to toast the edges. For safety reasons, home cooks should limit themselves to the small butane variety, available at most kitchen goods stores. 

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturesweet, tangy

Type of Dishdessert, pie

Ingredients

  • 1 single-crust, blind-baked All-Butter Pie Dough shell 
  • Melted white chocolate, for coating the pie shell
  • 1 recipe Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe Creamy Meringue (recipe follows)
  • 1 sheet (2.5g) leaf gelatin (silver strength) 
  • 1 cup (237mL/250g) fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 1/4 sticks (140g) unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar 
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 10 large (200g) egg yolks 
  • 2/3 cup (158mL/160g) egg whites 
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar 

Instructions

  1. Brush the inside of the empty pie shell with a thin coat of melted white chocolate. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets and hardens, about 5 minutes.

  2. Make the Lemon Curd:

  3. Place the leaf gelatin in a small bowl of ice water. Set aside to bloom for 10 minutes.

  4. Combine the lemon juice, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium, heavy saucepan.

  5. Place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl close to the stove so you can strain the curd as soon as it is done cooking.

  6. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts, and the mixture comes to a boil, about 3 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium, heatproof bowl and whisk until well combined.

  8. Slowly pour the hot lemon juice mixture over the yolks, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan.

  9. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. The curd is done when whisk tracks are visible for several seconds before disappearing, and the mixture easily coats the back of a spoon. Remove the curd from the heat.

  10. Remove the leaf gelatin from the ice water. Wring out the excess water, then whisk the gelatin into the curd until it dissolves.

  11. Pour the curd through the strainer.

  12. . Place the bowl back on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

  13. . Whip on Low until the mixture begins to cool and thicken. Turn the mixer up to High and whip until the mixer bowl is cool to the touch.

  14. Spoon the Lemon Curd into the prepared pie shell and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using curd that has been refrigerated, whip it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 2 to 3 minutes first. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd. Chill in the refrigerator until the curd has set, about 1 hour.

  15. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and carefully peel off the plastic wrap.

  16. Make the Meringue:

  17. Fill a 1-quart (948-mL) saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

  18. Combine the egg whites and granulated sugar in a medium stainless steel bowl and whisk to incorporate the sugar and break up the whites. Rest the bowl on top of the pot of simmering water and whisk constantly, until the egg whites reach 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer.

  19. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on High until the mixing bowl is cool to the touch.

  20. Use immediately. Meringue will become harder to spread as it sits out.

  21. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, making sure that the meringue touches the edge of the pie shell all around to seal the curd underneath and prevent weeping. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to make spikes and swirls in the meringue. Toast the meringue with a butane torch.

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