November 18, 2019

Simply Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.


A few months ago Mama wanted to have a big garage sale and enlisted my help. We worked our butts off pricing and displaying everything the night before then got up early Saturday morning and waited for the shoppers to pour in.

She had all the typical things you’d expect to find at a garage sale plus some super interesting stuff like butter churns and antique fire dogs. She, having worked retail her whole life, and I, having majored in marketing, did a bang-up job displaying her wares.

Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

We created a traffic flow with little niches of interest that wound you through the garage and out onto the driveway that perfectly displayed everything in the sale. It was quite charming. The only things we were missing were Muzak and twinkle lights.

But you want to know what everybody asked about? What everybody stopped to admire and then proceeded to try to buy? Her Meyer lemon tree! The dang potted bush/tree looking thing setting in the yard. They were climbing over stuff to get to it!

Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

I was so flummoxed I just about sold the thing so I wouldn’t have to talk about it anymore. But then I remembered lemon meringue pie. And how in just a few months she’d be harvesting those yellow gems and baking with them!

The pie pictured here was actually made using Mama's Meyer lemons. There's not a huge difference in flavor but the Meyer lemons are a little less acidic which I find makes desserts extra delicious. I've also noticed the zest of a regular lemon is a little more flavorful (I think they have more oil in the peel).

Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

I just like when Mama has a bunch of lemons to use because she bakes lots of stuff! Her Lemon Macaroon Tarts are like a gift from Heaven! The chewy macaroon crust and tart lemon curd are pure magic together!

Or, if you get inspired and grow your own Meyer lemon tree and need more lemon recipes, be sure to try my Lemon Crumb Bars and Lemon Crumble Cream Cake!

Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECT CREAMY MERINGUE

  • Don’t over-beat the meringue. I’ve always thought we should come up with a phrase other than “stiff peaks” because what you really want is a peak whose tip actually curls over. That’s when she’s ready. But many folks see that little curl and think That’s not stiff! Must keep going! and then all of the sudden we’re in styrofoam territory. For a luxurious, creamy meringue, look for peaks that curl at the tip!
  • Add the meringue when the filling is still very warm. The heat from the filling helps cook the meringue from the bottom up and keeps condensation from forming between the filling and the meringue.
Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

  • Spread the meringue to the edge. Be sure to spread the meringue all the way to the edge of the pie and onto the crust. This creates a seal and will prevent the meringue from shrinking and sliding around.
  • Cool the finished pie completely. Let your pie cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. This prevents condensation from forming on top of the meringue (ya know, those little golden bubbles?) and helps prevent the meringue from weeping into the pie overnight.
  • Just don’t even try if it’s raining outside. Moisture from the air gets absorbed into the meringue which is a surefire way to get “weepy” meringue (ya know, when the pie plate fills up with syrupy goo by the next morning?)


Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie | Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

You may notice that the crust on the pie pictured here looks like a graham cracker crust... well, that's because it is! I prefer a traditional pastry crust (and I usually cheat and buy the refrigerated kind!) but you can use whichever you like best!

Oh, and I couldn't call myself a Rivers if I didn't pass along this little nugget my late father-in-law, Mike, was famous for:
How's lemon pie like my finger?


wait for it...


wait for it...


It's got meringue on it!

Simply Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Simply Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Yield: 8 Servings
Author:
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 35 M
Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.

ingredients:

Crust:
  • 1 standard 9-in pie pastry
Filling:
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
Meringue:
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

instructions:

How to cook Simply Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust:
  1. Using a refrigerated pie pastry, frozen pie crust or your favorite homemade crust recipe, cook and completely cool pie pastry.
Filling:
  1. Combine egg yolks, water and lemon juice in a bowl then whisk together until smooth; set aside.
  2. Add sugar, cornstarch and salt to a medium saucepan then stir well to combine. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into sugar mixture until combined. You always want to add wet to dry (vs dry to wet) to avoid clumps
  3. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking often, until filling thickens and just begins to bubble, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Once mixture begins to bubble, continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk in butter and lemon zest, cool while you prepare the meringue, then spread evenly into the prepared crust.
Meringue:
  1. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer (preferably with whisk attachment or whisk beaters) on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Slowly add sugar, then increase mixer to medium-high speed, beating until tips of the peaks curl over slightly when the whisk(s) are lifted from the bowl.
  3. Spread meringue over warm filling, being sure to spread all the way to the crust to seal in filling and prevent shrinkage. Using the back of a spoon, create swirls in the meringue if desired.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minute or until the peaks and swirls of the meringue is golden brown.
  5. Cool the pie completely on a cooling rack (or over two wooden spoon handles like I do) then refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Classic lemon meringue pie with tart and creamy lemon custard topped with silky smooth meringue plus tips for making the perfect creamy meringue that stays dreamy for days.


4 comments:

  1. I'm in Southwest Florida and the last time I made Pavlova - lots of meringues - cooked to perfection - then wait for 24 hours to assemble. The next day when I opened the oven the meringues were weepy and a mess. I had to take the dessert to a large gathering - I tried re-heating them gently - that only hardened them. Is it impossible to make meringue in SW Florida - where it's basically humid all the time?

    I actually thought the humidity wasn't that terribly high - but I guess more than 50% humidity wasn't going to allow those meringues to work under any circumstances. btw, this was not my first attempt at Pavlova...I've made many with great success - in Michigan. I've sworn off all things meringue - but it seems to me that many Southerners make lemon meringue pie. What can I do to prevent the meringue from failing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tips I have above are the only tricks I've ever learned but I'm not sure most of them would help with pavlova. I'm usually OK to make meringue in our high humidity so long as it's not raining and I don't have any windows open. Good luck!!

      Delete
  2. My daughter in law's mother makes the standard 3 egg white meringue recipe then gently folds in a jar of marshmallow creme. Her meringues never fail and look beautiful. I am going to try this trick next time I get motivated to make a meringue pie, and it may be very soon as my Meyer lemons are looking to be about ready. I am in east Tennessee in the Tennessee Valley and it is humid here, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been craving a lemon meringue pie, but have never made one. I need to bake this up asap!

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy