Saturday, 12 April 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe and Tutorial

Until recently, my pie making mostly stayed in the area of apple and peach.  I decided to try my hand at lemon meringue, since it is arguably one of my favorite types of pie.  I think I have finally perfected my recipe for both the pie pastry and lemon pie filling.  Since lemon meringue pie is the perfect dessert for an Easter supper, I figured I would share my recipe with you here.

We will start with the pastry first.  Because we are just making an empty shell with no top crust, you must make a half recipe of the below:

Next, lay down some saran wrap strips onto your cupboard and heavily flour them.  This step is very important.  This pastry recipe is perfect because it makes a perfectly flaky crust - but it likely will not come off of your counter top in one piece without the help of saran wrap.

Pick up the pastry circle and lay it saran wrap side up int he pie plate.  Remove the saran wrap, cut of the excess around the edge and perforate the bottom with a fork:

Now bake the shell at 450°F for 15mins.  Turn the heat down to 350°F and bake for an additional 15mins.  Keep careful watch to make sure that the crust does not burn - all ovens cook differently after all.

We will move onto the filling now.  As an aside, I suggest you use a wooden spoon to make the filling.  I don't know why, but it works so much better than anything else.

1.  Mix together cornstarch, sugar and salt into a 2qt saucepan.  Separate the eggs, placing the yolks into a small bowl (keep this near the stove while you make the sauce) and placing the whites into a larger bowl (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for this).

2.  Stir in water, lemon juice, mango juice and lemon peel.  Cook this over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils - remove it from heat.
       It will go through 3 stages during this time:
              1 - thin liquid
              2 - thin liquid with thicker lumps
              3 - thick, shiny sauce (this is when it is boiling and done)

3.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of the hot lemon sauce to the small bowl of egg yolks, stirring rapidly to prevent clumping (this is done to bring the egg yolks up to the same temperature of the sauce).

4.  Add the yolk mixture to the hot lemon sauce - stirring rapidly to prevent clumping.  Return to heat, stirring until mixture is thick and shiny again.  Add butter or margarine to the thickened sauce, stirring until melted.  Remove from heat.

5.  Pour mixture into pie crust.  You won't fill the crust completely, as the rest will be filled with the meringue.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lastly we make the meringue.  You can use either a stand mixer or hand mixer for this.  I find that a stand mixer works best.

1.  Beat eggs at high speed with wire whisk attachment until soft peaks form.

2.  Add sugar, 2 TBSP at a time, while beating on high.  Continue beating until sugar is dissolved (rub some meringue between your fingers, it should be smooth not gritty) and whites form stiff glossy peaks.

3.  Spread meringue onto pie, making swirls with your spatula for an attractive top.

Bake for 10mins at 400°F.  Allow to cool at room temperature for at least 30mins away from drafts (I prefer to do 1hr).  Cooling at room temperature stops the filling from getting thin and soupy (I learned this from experience).

You are done!  I hope you enjoy your pie!

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