Hot Buttered Baking: Lemon Meringue Pie
Saturday is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, and it also happens to be Julia Child’s birthday.
If she were still alive this year, she’d be a whopping 103 years old!
In honor of her culinary escapades and the national food holiday, I’m sharing one of my favorite lemon meringue pie recipes with you.
My husband’s favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie, but he’s picky about them.
The crust must be flaky, the lemon flavor must be fairly strong and the filling shouldn’t be soupy.
While he’ll settle for a frozen Claim Jumpers pie in a pinch, he loves my homemade version.
It takes some practice and time to make this pie, but your family and friends (and you) will enjoy the fruits of your labor.
So give it a whirl and remember what Julia Child used to say: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Lemon Meringue Pie
Pie Crust Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold butter
- 3 tablespoons cold water
Lemon Filling Ingredients:
- 1 1/3 cups white sugar
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons from my yard)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
Pie Crust Directions:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut the butter into the flour mixture. I typically just use my hands to mix in chunk-sized pieces of butter. You should eventually have a mixture that has a grainy texture and pea-sized granules of butter.
- Stir in the cold water. Mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a flat surface until you have a fairly round circle that’s about 12 inches in diameter. Lightly dust the top of the dough or rolling pin as needed.
- Using a metal spatula, transfer the dough to a pie dish. Form the dough to the dish, pinching the top edges of the dough. Using a fork, prick the dough about 15 times in the bottom of the dish.
- Bake the pie crust at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Place a sheet of parchment paper and pie weights if you have them, or dry beans, in the bottom of the pie to keep it from bubbling up.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Lemon Filling Directions:
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks using a whisk. Gradually add the water to the mixture.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking almost constantly until thickened. This thickening process takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using the whisk, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and butter. Keep the mixture warm while you make the meringue topping.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar using the whisk attachment. It’s the one that’s typically chrome colored and akin to the shape of an acorn.
- Beat the eggs whites until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about two minutes.
Putting It All Together:
- Pour the warm lemon filling into the pre-baked pie crust.
- Top the pie with the meringue, spreading it evenly over the top. The meringue should completely cover the filling and abut the edge of the pie crust.
- Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- It’ll be tempting, but don’t cut the pie until it is completely cooled. I would suggest placing it in the refrigerator before serving so it has a chance to set and get cold.