As promised, this is part 2 of the Thanksgiving Treats installment. My good friend Katy, who flew in from Michigan just to see me (and no one else ) came over the day before Thanksgiving to not only be my wonderful sous chef for my pumpkin cheesecake, but also to make her delicious Lemon Meringue Pie. This recipe is courtesy of Katy and from the end of this sentence, to the end of the recipe, these are Katy’s words..not Corinne’s..sorry guys, I’ll miss you, but I know you’ll love Katy’s recipe!
For the pie:
Baked pie shell (or make your own–recipe can be found here)
1 cup sugar
5-6 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups water or milk
3 beaten egg yolks (save 2 whites for the meringue!!)
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind (add more if you want a more lemony taste)
For the meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp granulated sugar or 4 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
**NOTE** Tips for meringue: egg whites are easiest to beat at room temperature. Separate your eggs before you begin so they have time to sit out and warm up. Additionally, eggs will NOT beat properly if the bowl or whip/hand mixer is wet at all. Dry all equipment first to avoid a frustrating experience. Finally, beautiful meringues come from experience with looking at beaten eggs, so practice over and over and you’ll get it. But even if it falls a little the first time, it’ll still be delicious! Don’t give up!
Normally I’m lazy and use a store-bought crust, but for this special occasion Corinne and I used her recipe for a pie crust. The important part is that the pie crust gets baked before the filling goes into it. If using a store-bought crust, there are instructions included on the crust for pies that require a baked crust. For Corinne’s recipe, we baked it at 350 for around 15 minutes, until the crust darken a bit and no longer appeared doughy. This will vary with your oven so pay attention to it while it is baking. It will need to cool before the filling is added.
1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the top of a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, a metal bowl or smaller pot that fits in a larger pot will work. Make sure the bottom of the bowl/smaller pot is not touching the small layer of water in the lower pot. Turn the heat on medium/medium-low, so the water does not bubble through the double boiler and splash unsuspecting arms. Add milk or water very gradually, around 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
2. Stir and cook this mixture over the hot water for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken (if it doesn’t, add more cornstarch–but give it time, even when it doesn’t appear like it is ever going to thicken, all of a sudden–it happens). Cover and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat.
3. Separate the eggs, saving 2 egg whites for the meringue and putting the 3 yolks in a heat safe bowl. Pour a little of the sugar mixture over the egg yolks. Beat this mixture, and then return it to the double boiler. Cook and stir gently for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
4. Mix in butter, lemon juice, and rind. If you want a more lemony pie, add more rind, NOT lemon juice, since more juice will thin the filling and create an unpleasant consistency. (Best to have the pieces of zest be on the smaller side to avoid feeling them in the pie, but it’s not anything to stress over.)
5. Cool the custard by stirring very, very gently to release any steam, which might condense to thin the filling. Once cool, pour into a cold pie shell. When it is almost cool, you can start the meringue part, but you do not want to let the meringue sit out too long before being baked or the texture will not be as good.
Pre-heat oven to 350F
1. Whip egg whites until they are frothy (You can use a hand mixer or regular mixer attachment, but a whisk attachment is easiest.)
2. Add cream of tartar and whip until stiff but not dry. Should stand in peaks that lean over slightly. Test peaks by pulling your beaters out in an outward direction and see how much they move. Soft peaks will form a mountain but still fall at the top, but you want stiff peaks, which stand straight up.
3. Beat in the sugar, 1/2 tsp at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl every 1.5 tsp or so, depending on how much is being pushed up. Do NOT overbeat, just until mixed. (When you are first making this, put the 3 tbsps sugar into bowl and measure out the half tsps one at a time for ease.)
4. Add vanilla and beat till JUST blended.
5. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, making sure to get it all the way out to edges to prevent the meringue from pulling away from the crust as it bakes. For extra fun, lightly tap around the pie to create peaks of meringue. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meringue. When done, the tops of the meringue peaks will be slightly browned, while the rest of it will remain white in color.
Now that, is one sexy looking pie!