Knock knock knock.
Yeah. I know. Lemon pie has nothing to do with Christmas. But December is when the citrus starts coming off the trees out back. Plus lemon merengue pie is truly one of my most favorite sugary sweets. Tart, sour, sweet, fluffy – combining such texture and flavor. It’s truly a classic year round. But we are making one now in December because I have lemons right from the yard.
My Granny instilled in me the love of the lemon. If you follow you’ve already seen my vintage lemon cake recipe. I am eager for Granny to get a slice of this particular lemon pie because I amended her classic recipe and according to my mother this afternoon it’s “the best piece of pie I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.” Not to brag… but it came together really well.
You’ll need half a recipe of The Gentleman’s Perfect Pie Crust (or you can make a full portion and just freeze the remainder). PERFECT PIE CRUST
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick and gently place it in a pie pan, crafting the edges to your desired design. Work fast so the butter remains intact. Poke a few holes with a fork (see photo). Place pie weights or a piece of wax paper loaded with uncooked rice in the reservoir of the dough and bake for 12 minutes. Carefully remove the weights or rise and bake another 12-14 minutes till the desired color is achieved. Pull the crust and lower the oven temp to 350.
Now for the filling!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 c sugar
- 1 c water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 eggs, separated (you’ll need the yolks for filling, whites for merengue – if they’re smaller eggs use 6)
- 3-4 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp citric acid (optional)
In a heavy saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch and salt. Turn the heat on high and add water and cream. Bring just to a boil. In a bowl or large measuring cup add a slow stream of the hot liquid to the egg yolks (temper) while whisking constantly. Add about 1 c of the hot liquid. Then in the saucepan whisk the egg mixture into the remaining hot liquid while bringing up the heat. Achieve a simmer and whisk for three minutes. Pull from the heat, add zest, lemon juice, extract, butter and citric acid. Whisk until butter is melted off of the heat.
Now for the merengue!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 5 egg whites
- 2 tbsp sugar (I use vanilla sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
With the whisk attachment on your mixer beat all of the ingredients to stiff peaks. It works best if the whites are cold and you stream the sugar in incrementally. Once stiff peaks are achieved, turn the mixer off and continue assembling.
Pour the lemon filling into the shell. Top with merengue “sealing” the lemon filling. The merengue should just touch the crust on the perimeter of the pie. Make the merengue pretty… it’s the visual star of the pie.
Place the pie in the center rack of there 350 degree oven for 15 minutes – watch it. Get the merengue to the desired color.
Allow it to rest – if you have that sort of discipline! No, really. Allow it to rest.
For printable PDF click here: Perfect Lemon Merengue Pie
This dessert won’t last so get it while you can.
That’s all for now!
The Gentleman Caller