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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

The first thing I EVER made for my husband when I was 18 was a peach pie.  I'd never made any kind of pie before, but since then my pies have become a bit of a specialty.  I will post a recipe for peach pie in peach season, but for now, I'll share my most popular pie - Lemon Meringue.

I think the best advice I can give to inexperienced pie bakers, is just relax.  Forget about all the "rules" and all the stress that you can give yourself.  Just relax, and it will be easy.

Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

What you need:

For the pie crust

1 cup regular white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening or lard
1 egg*
1 1/2  tbsp cold water

(You can double this recipe and put the other half in the freezer until ready to use. *Double everything except the egg..)

For the filling

1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons of corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water

4 egg YOLKS, beaten
1 tablespoon of grate lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (one lemon)
2 tbsp. butter

For the meringue

4 egg whites
1/4-1/2 cup white sugar

Start by making the pie crust.  You can always buy a pre-made one, but it defeats the purpose of me sharing my perfect pie recipe with you.

Put flour, shortening, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 whole egg, and 3 tbsp water in a bowl.

If you have a stand up mixer, use the mixer on low to incorporate the ingredients, if not, use a pastry fork to blend together until it resembles oatmeal.  Do not over-mix or your dough will be tough.


Once it looks like this, you can roll dough into a ball with your hands. The next step is vital because it makes rolling out and putting in the pie plate much easier.  I place plastic wrap on my counter enough to be bigger than your pie plate, place the ball in the center of the plastic wrap, then put more plastic wrap the same size over top.  Now you can start rolling out the dough, careful to pull the wrap if it gets caught under the dough.  Roll all around until you have rolled the dough to the size a bit bigger than your pie plate.

At this point a lot of experts will tell you to put it in the fridge for an hour or two.  I don't have that kind of time, do you?  I've never done this and my pie crusts are always perfect.  Take the first layer of plastic wrap off and gently turn upside down and place on your pie plate.

Press dough into the plate so that there are no gaps, then peel last layer of plastic wrap off.  Trim edges with a knife by running along the side of the

At this point, I take a fork a poke a bunch of holes in the bottom of the crust.  This is to prevent the crust from forming bubbles.  Many professionals would suggest using weights of some sort to stop it from bubbling up, but I've always had success just using the fork poke.

Bake your crust for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until brown and set out to cool.  Now the fun part.  The lemon filling.

I usually prep all my ingredients before I start to cook the filling.  That means starting by grating the lemon for the zest.  I'm not a big fan of zest in other things, but I've tried making a lemon pie without it, and there's just not enough flavour, so don't skip this step or use the bottled lemon juice.  I use a rasper like this one to grate the zest of the lemon.  1 tbsp is usually only about half the lemon. I also grate onto a paper towel so it's easy to pick up and doesn't leave a mess.

Squeeze as much juice as you can from one lemon.  It's usually enough for the 1/2 cup, but if not, then you can just add enough of the bottled lemon juice to make the 1/2 cup. 

Set the zest and juice aside.  Next separate the eggs.  You will need to keep the egg whites for making the meringue later.  The yokes you will need for the filling.

Place egg yokes in a medium glass bowl and beat.  Next you are ready to start cooking the main portion of the filling.  Place sugar, corn starch, and water in a medium pan and stir or whisk well and cook over medium high heat until it stars to thicken.

Allow to boil and let it thicken and become slightly clear in colour.  Remove from heat and slowly pour half of the liquid into your beaten egg yokes, whisking rapidly.  (If you skip this step, your eggs will start to cook and become like scrambled eggs in your filling, so don't skip this step.)

Combine fully until the mixture is a creamy yellow.  Return pan to heat and pour egg/filling mixture back into the pan.  Continue cooking for a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice and butter, stirring until well combined.

Pour into cooled pie shell, and you have your lemon filling completed. 

Final step, which is also the easiest - is the meringue.  In an electric mixer (or if by hand if you don't have one) beat egg whites until stiff, add sugar and continue beating until slightly shiny.

Spoon meringue onto pie, and spread evenly over top, making sure to cover the crust edges.

Put oven on boil and place completed pie inside, and broil for just a few minutes.  You really need to watch, and sometimes, depending on how evenly your oven cooks, you will have to turn the plate so it browns evenly.  Once done to the way you prefer (I don't like mine too brown), remove from oven and let cool.  And there you have the perfect lemon meringue pie - completely from scratch - and you will impress everyone.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all the pictures! My mom was never into cooking, but I honestly don't mind doing it (provided I get to enjoy a glass of wine and listen to some music while I do it). Lots of times I read the instructions for making something, and I don't understand what they mean, ie: press the dough, but your pictures fully illustrate what you mean so that even an inexperienced baker like me can learn. Thank you for sharing!!