Lemon Meringue Pie

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  • #520527

    Dragoness asked about my lemon meringue pie recipe, so here it is…its from Cooks’ Illustrated (my favorite recipe source). Note that the recipe for the pie shell is at the bottom…

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    If using a hand-held mixer, you will need a very large, deep bowl and should move the beaters vigorously in step 3 to avoid underbeating the egg whites. This pie is best on the day it’s made.

    Serves 8 to 10

    Lemon Filling
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 cup lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    8 large egg yolks (reserve 4 whites for meringue)
    2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into pieces and softened

    1 (9-inch) pie shell , fully baked and cooled

    Meringue
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    4 large egg whites (reserved from filling)
    Pinch table salt
    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. For the filling: Whisk sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch, and salt together in large nonreactive saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture becomes translucent and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Whisk in yolks until combined. Stir in zest and butter. Bring to simmer and stir constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 2 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into pie shell and scrape filling off underside of strainer. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate until set and well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

    2. For the meringue: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat. Once syrup comes to rolling boil, cook 4 minutes (mixture will become slightly thickened and syrupy). Remove from heat and set aside while beating whites.

    3. With electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl at medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat, gradually increasing speed to medium-high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into whites (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk or it will splash). Add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes very thick and shiny, 5 to 9 minutes.

    4. Using rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling, making sure meringue touches edges of crust. Use spatula to create peaks all over meringue. Bake until peaks turn golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve.

    Prebaked Pie Shell
    Once the pan is in the oven, leave the foil lining and weights in place until the dough loses its wet look, turns an off-white from its original pale yellow, and the edges just start to take on a very light brown color. Carefully (the dough is hot) touch the side of the shell to make sure that the crust is set: firm and able to hold itself up. If you remove the weights too soon, the dough sides will slip down, ruining the pie shell. Bake the shell partially (another nine minutes)—until just golden brown—if the pie is to be baked again with an uncooked filling such as pumpkin or pecan pie or quiches. Bake the shell fully (another fifteen minutes from the point the foil is removed)—to a deep, golden brown—when no additional baking is required as with fruit tarts and cream, chiffon, or lemon meringue pies.

    For an 8- to 9-inch single pie shell

    1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , plus more for rolling out the dough
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
    3 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
    4 – 5 tablespoons ice water

    1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat with flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

    2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, using folding motion to mix. Press down on mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if it will not come together. Shape dough into ball, squeezing two or three times with hands until cohesive, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

    3. Remove dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly, about 10 minutes if dough has chilled for 30 minutes or 20 minutes if it has chilled overnight. (The dough should be pliable. Use your hands to squeeze the dough; if you can squeeze it without applying too much pressure, it is ready to roll.) Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two sheets plastic wrap to a 12-inch disk about 1/8-inch thick. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of pie pan. Unfold dough. Alternatively, roll dough in 2-gallon zipper-lock bag to a 12-inch disk about 1/8-inch thick. Cut away top of bag. Grasping bottom, flip dough into pie pan and peel off bag bottom.

    4. Working around circumference of pan, press dough carefully into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand . Trim edge to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is about 1/4-inch beyond pan lip; flute dough in your own fashion. For quiche or tart pans, lift the edge of the dough, allowing the extra dough to flop over the sides. Then run the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove excess dough. Next use your forefinger and thumb, press the dough evenly up the sides from the bottom to increase the height of the rim. Refrigerate pie shell for 40 minutes and then freeze for 20 minutes.

    5. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Press doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside dough shell; evenly distribute 1 cup or 12 ounces ceramic or metal pie weights over foil. Bake, leaving foil and weights in place, until dough dries out, about 17 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering sides of foil and pulling up and out. For partially baked crust, continue baking until lightly golden brown, about 9 minutes more; for fully baked crust, continue baking until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

    #489108

    #520528

    Here’s another variation that I’ve made before that I also like a lot. This one has a graham cracker coated crust which goes really well with the lemon filling. This recipe is also from Cooks’ Illustrated.

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    Makes one 9-inch pie

    Graham Cracker-Coated Pie Shell
    1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
    4 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
    3 – 4 tablespoons cold water
    1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

    Lemon Filling
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/8 teaspoon table salt
    1 1/2 cups cold water
    6 large egg yolks
    1 tablespoon lemon zest from 1 lemon
    1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 lemons
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Meringue Topping
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    4 large egg whites
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. For the pie shell: Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1 second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than a small pea, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

    2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cold water over mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into mixture; press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together. If dough will not come together, add up to 1 tablespoon more cold water. Shape dough into ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

    3. Generously sprinkle work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs. Place dough on work area. Scatter a few more crumbs over dough (see illustration 1, below). Roll dough from center to edges, turning it into a 9-inch disk, rotating a quarter turn after each stroke and sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top as necessary to coat heavily, (see illustration 2). Flip dough over and continue to roll, but not rotate, to form a 13-inch disk slightly less than 1/8-inch thick.

    4. Fold dough into quaarters; place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex pie pan. Unfold to cover pan completely, letting excess dough drape over pan lip. To fit dough to pan, lift edge of dough with one hand and press dougn in pan bottom with other hand; repeat process around circumferences of pan to ensure dough fits properly and is not stretched. Trim all around, 1/2-inch past lip of pan. Tuck 1/2 inch of overhanging dough under so folded edge is flush with lip of pan; press to seal. Press thumb and index finger about 1/2-inch apart against outside edge of dough, then use index finger or knuckle of other hand to poke a dent on inside edge of dough through opening created by the other fingers. Repeat to flute around perimeter of pie shell.

    5. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Use fork to prick shell at 1/2-inch intervals; press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil into pie shell; prick again and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

    6. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and rich brown in color, about 10 minutes longer.

    7. For the filling: Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large, nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally at beginning of the process and more frequently as mixture begins to thicken. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice, and finally butter. Bring mixture to a brisk simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep hot and prevent skin from forming.

    8. For the meringue: Mix cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in small saucepan; bring to simmer, whisking occasionally at beginning and more frequently as mixture thickens. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat. Let cool while beating egg whites.

    9. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; until sugar is incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks. Remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during last minute or so of beating meringue (to ensure filling is hot).

    10. Pour filling into pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge then center of pie to keep it from sinking into filling. Make sure meringue attaches to pie crust to prevent shrinking (illustration 3). Use spoon to create peaks all over meringue. Bake pie until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve.

    #520529

    Yipeee. I will defiantly have to try this one day. Of course I need a mixing machine. Thanks.

    #520530

    If you do get a mixer, I recommend the ones by Kitchenaid. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and I think they’re the best on the market.

    #520531

    Wow, those are cool and cost the price of some windstones. I think I might (key word) start looking for a used one or maybe I know someone who has one I can borrow. Yes, that would be a better idea because I don’t know how much I would use it.

    #520532

    That’s a good plan. Then if you do end up using it a lot you can buy one. By the way, those prices on the Kitchenaid site are just the list prices and you can get those mixers a lot cheaper at a lot of places (e.g., the one they list for $239.99 I regularly see sold in stores for $179.99).

    And hmm…comparing those mixer prices to Windstones puts things in perspective. Windstones are pretty expensive in the scheme of things! Its kind of strange, actually…I thought $500 was a good price for the grey tabby but I wouldn’t pay that much for a mixer! 😆

    #520533

    mimitrek wrote:

    That’s a good plan. Then if you do end up using it a lot you can buy one. By the way, those prices on the Kitchenaid site are just the list prices and you can get those mixers a lot cheaper at a lot of places (e.g., the one they list for $239.99 I regularly see sold in stores for $179.99).

    And hmm…comparing those mixer prices to Windstones puts things in perspective. Windstones are pretty expensive in the scheme of things! Its kind of strange, actually…I thought $500 was a good price for the grey tabby but I wouldn’t pay that much for a mixer! 😆
    Well that makes more sense and espically since some stores have a lot of sales.

    I still would much rather have a Windstone than a mixer tho. Heck, if I didn’t have to eat food to survive I would probably give that up to have pretty things I can look at.

    #520534

    dragonessjade wrote:

    I still would much rather have a Windstone than a mixer tho.

    For me, both of those are basic necessities of life. 😀

    dragonessjade wrote:

    Heck, if I didn’t have to eat food to survive I would probably give that up to have pretty things I can look at.

    😆 I think I love Indian curries and ice cream too much for me to give those up…

    #520535

    mimitrek wrote:

    dragonessjade wrote:

    I still would much rather have a Windstone than a mixer tho.

    For me, both of those are basic necessities of life. 😀

    dragonessjade wrote:

    Heck, if I didn’t have to eat food to survive I would probably give that up to have pretty things I can look at.

    😆 I think I love Indian curries and ice cream too much for me to give those up…
    Im half indian and I don’t eat Indian food that much. In fact, the last time I ate Indian food, it made me sick.

    #520536

    Really? Did your parents not make much Indian food while you were growing up?

    You know what’s interesting, my boyfriend is Indian and he doesn’t like Indian food that much…but its my favorite…

    #520537

    Well my mom made indian food when I was like 12 and younger, but then my dad moved. I would go up to my g-mas house and visit, but other than that I wouldn’t eat it. It might be a aquired taste and you have to tolarate the spicyness. Which that is another thing I don’t do well.

    #520538

    Ah, I see. That reminds me, I have a co-worker who’s from India who also doesn’t like spicy food. The strange thing with him is that he actually grew up eating Indian food all the time but for some reason he’d never gotten used to the spiciness…

    #520539
    Maria
    Participant

      Thanks for the recipe, Mimi. I’ll show it to Mom and see how much either one differs from what she usually makes. You made me hungry lemon meringue pie again! I’ll bug her to make some for New Year’s. 🙂

      #520540

      You’re welcome, it’ll be interesting to see how your mom’s recipe compares. And yes…now I also want lemon meringue pie! Maybe I’ll make one for New Year’s too.

      Hmm…the more I read the Windstone forum, the fatter I get… 🙂

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