Anyone out there love lemons as much as Emily and I do?
We once dedicated a whole month here at Everyday Art on that delicious citrus beauty--that's just how much we love lemons. :)
Like any good lemon connoisseurs, we really enjoy a good Lemon Meringue Pie (almost as much as we love our Lemon Sour Cream Pie). That soft, creamy, lemony filling with a delicious, airy meringue on top--Mmmm! can't get enough. Literally.
Alas, I have also had some sub-par lemon meringue pie. Perhaps the filling is too gelatinous, perhaps the meringue actually breaks down and turns to mush. Or is separates from the filling and floats around like a plate in a sink of water.
Well, say sayonara to sub-par pie. Adios!
The real key that helped my lemon meringue pie be a success was to
1) make sure the lemon filling is hot when you put the meringue on top
2) make sure the meringue covers all of the filling and touches the crust.
Now the meringue stays where it should (firmly attached to the lemon filling). :)
Also, this recipe is just plain good, as all recipes from America's Test Kitchen tend to be.
Lemon Meringue Pie
From America’s Test Kitchen’s The New Best Recipe.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. shortening
½ c. water
1 c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. cold water
6 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
½ c. Fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 . water
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ c. sugar
4 large egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position.
Prepare crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, slowly add the water and stir until the dough starts to come together—until it is soft but not sticky. Do not overmix. Prepare 4 pieces of plastic wrap by placing two pieces side-by-side on the counter and two pieces ready to place on top. Put the crust dough on the plastic wrap and cover with the two top pieces.
Roll the dough out and place into the pie plate. Trim the dough edges and decorate as desired. Line the pie with foil and fold the edges of the foil over to shield the crust edges and prevent them from getting too brown. Place ceramic or metal pie weights over the foil. Bake until the crust looks dry, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and the weights and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Filling: Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large nonreactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more frequently as the mixture begins to thicken. When the mixture starts to simmer and turns translucent, whisk thin the egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in the zest, then the lemon juice, and finally the butter. Bring the mixture to a good simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat; place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling to keep it hot and fervent a skin from forming.
Meringue: Mix the cornstarch with the water in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally at the beginning and more frequently as the mixture thickens. When the mixtures starts to simmer and turns translucent, remove from the heat.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture forms soft peaks. Add the cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to eat the meringue to stiff peaks.
Remove the plastic form the lemon filling and return to very low heat during the last minute or so of beating the meringue (to ensure the filling is hot).
Assemble: Pour the hot filling into the pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute the meringue evenly around the edge and then the center of the pie to keep it from sinking into the filling. Make sure the meringue attaches to the piecrust to prevent shrinking. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks all over the meringue. Bake the pie until the meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve the same day.
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