This old fashioned lemon meringue pie tastes like spring! Perfect to get you out of your winter funk.
I know many of you are buried under what must feel like miles of snow, but here in Southern California we have our first sign of spring: Meyer Lemons!
Every February I await the return of the fragrant and tropical Meyer lemon. A native of China, this citrus fruit is thought to be a hybrid of a regular lemon and a mandarin orange, which is what gives it a distinctive sweet and tangy flavor. I find it’s aroma to be intoxicating, mainly because if I had to pick one flavor to eat for the rest of my life, it would be lemon! To me lemon tastes like happiness.
When I was pregnant with all three of my children, the smell and taste of lemon was often the only thing that I could tolerate when it came to food. As a matter of fact, I had to get rid of many of my cleaning products because the perfumed smell was more than I could bare. I switched all of my scents to lemon and was much happier as a result.
I thought I would try the old fashioned lemon meringue pie out of my grandmother’s Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book. I happened to have all of the ingredients listed so why not?
To start I used my favorite pie crust recipe, rolled it out, placed it in a 9″ pie dish and made sure to poke a bunch of holes in the bottom before prebaking it in a 475 degree oven for 8 minutes. This is hot and fast, so be careful not to overcook.
Next I made the meringue. I have found it works much better if I have the meringue made before the lemon filling because it is imperative you put the meringue on top of the piping hot fillings. This helps cook the meringue from the bottom up which keeps the meringue from separating. If you have to wait until after you have the lemon filling made to create the meringue, it will be too cold to do its job properly.
I also make sure I use bakers sugar, which has a finer grain then regular table sugar. This lets the sugar dissolve much more easily than regular sugar. If you don’t have super fine sugar and don’t feel like purchasing it, just run some sugar around in your food processor. Easy peasy!
Finally I make the lemon filling, quickly add it to the precooked pie crust and then immediately add the meringue to the top and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
Old Fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 6 Tbsp. Baker’s Sugar
Meyer Lemon Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 egg yolks slightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (standard lemon juice is also fine)
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
In an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add the sugar one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. It almost looks like a pearl when ready. Check to see if your meringue is ready by checking to see if the peaks fall over or if they stay high and proud. If they are upright it is ready.
Meyer Lemon Pie Filling
On medium heat, mix together the sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Slowly add the water while stirring to prevent lumps. Continue mixing until it comes to a boil. Let it boil for one minute then take off the heat.
In a separate bowl, take a spoonful of the hot sugar mixture and mix it into the egg yolks. Continue to do this until about half of the sugar mixture is incorporated. The reason for this is you want to bring up the egg yolk temperature without cooking them. You don’t want scrambled egg pie!
Once the eggs are tempered, add them back to the pot and bring up to a boil, constantly stirring. Boil for one minute and then take back off the heat. Mix in the butter, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Stir until smooth and then pour into the prebaked pie shell.
Top with the meringue, making sure to seal all the edges.
Bake at 375 for 8 minutes, or until brown.
Remove and let cool completely before cooking.
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