Handmade from fresh ingredients!
Lemons! This fruit has it all, taste, colour and aroma! Seeing a bowl of lemons is like having mini-sunshine on your table. If you’re like me, then you do love this popular fruit. Mention a lemon dessert and people always seem to find room, even if they just finished saying they were full!
Yes, lemons are usually found in my fridge, right beside the limes, because they are so versatile. Summer weather is just around the corner…heat… beaches… picnics…sitting on your deck…. O.K, you get the message, but really there is no need to wait until July to make a Lemon Meringue Pie. I’m feeling sunshine now!
When my oldest son was four, he would often sit on a kitchen stool, and watch as I baked a Lemon Meringue Pie. Sometimes, we would sing the “Lemon Tree” song. It’s a song that has been around for ages, and goes like this:
“Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet,
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet,
But the fruit of the poor lemon, is impossible to eat!”
We would pucker up our faces and laugh and sing it all over again and laugh some more. That is what I call priceless, and even recalling it now is making me grin. Kitchens are filled with precious, unforgettable memories. Time has a way of flying by though, and now my sweet little boy is married and over six feet tall! If you haven’t done so already, think seriously about creating some special time with your children, or grandchildren.
Lemon Meringue Pie is one of those desserts that remain in your thoughts; long after the first bite of tart/sweetness is gone. Dare I say you are starting to crave a slice? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I will be the first to admit these pies can be a bit intimidating to make, especially if you are just starting to hone your kitchen skills. I can remember a few “Campbell’s” soup messes. Pudding anyone? When you are making a pie like this, you must pay attention, so this is not the time to be multitasking (moms this means you). Good news though…you can succeed, and I will show you how.
Lemon Meringue Pie actually brings back childhood memories of my own. It was my father’s favourite pie, and a teenager; I happily made it for him. Except of course on weekends when I was driving my friends around in dad’s big old car. Yes, in those days, I was starting to compete for space in my mom’s kitchen, and of course being wise, mom was only too willing to accommodate her budding sous-chef.
The recipe card in the above photo is from my Home Economics class, probably when I was around thirteen. By the time I was sixteen, I became quite proficient at pie making, but after that I seemed to have lost my skills for the next while. Being preoccupied with other things in life might have had something to do with it! When I married my handsome prince, I once again started to bake regularly, and my skills started to return. You know, like riding a bike, you never forget. Over the years though, I’ve adjusted this recipe, so it’s less likely to fail.
Yes, Lemon Meringue Pies are special! I truly hope this recipe inspires you to make this sumptuous treat. I venture to say it will soon become one of your favourites. Worried about making the crust? Don’t be! I have a very simple way to make piecrusts, which taste great, and require little time. So, what are we waiting for, let’s get started! You can find my recipe for Pie Crust here.
- Lemon Filling:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs yolks (save the whites for the meringue, and keep at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1¼ cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons soft butter (1 oz)
- Meringue: Enough to cover 9 inch pie crust
- 4 egg whites at room temperature ( this allows them to expand to greater volume)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- For the Crust click here.
- Prepare pastry dough, then transfer the rolled dough to a 9 inch pie plate, by folding the pastry over the rolling pin, then lifting it on to pie plate. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving an overhang of ¾ inch. Make a fluted edge by pressing with the edge of your thumb, or crimp the rim with the back of a floured fork. Set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, while oven is heating up to 400 degrees. After removing from refrigerator, prick the bottom and sides of the pastry with a fork at a 1 inch spacing, to prevent puffing during baking. Cover the crust with aluminium foil, and fill bottom with pie weights or dried beans (I once used washed crushed rock from my driveway and it worked fine 🙂 ).
- Place in lower third of oven and bake at 400F degrees. for 15 minutes, then remove foil with weights, and reduce oven to 350F degrees ; cook 10 minutes more or until the crust is a nice golden colour.
- Remove from oven and place on a rack. If you want, you can keep the oven on, 325 degrees F.
- To Make the Filling: (before making filling get the ingredients for the meringue ready and measured out , but do not combine them all together in the mixing bowl).
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt, using a whisk until well blended. Add water, mixing well until smooth. Cook, and stir over medium heat (watch it so it doesn't burn) until mixture comes to a boil, and starts to bubble and thicken, about 4-5 minutes.
- Beat egg yolks slightly, add to them a little of the hot mixture( around 1 cup), mix well, then return this egg mixture back into saucepan, and gently whisk to combine. Stir for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, and fold in butter, then lemon juice and zest.
- Pour into baked pie shell.
- Meringue: Enough to cover 9 inch pie.
- Grease free mixing bowl.
- In a stand mixer or hand beater, on medium speed, beat 4 egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and vanilla.
- Mix cornstarch with sugar, and gradually add to the egg whites a little at a time.
- Increase speed to medium high, and beat until peaks are stiff and glossy enough to hold their shape and curl at the tip.
- Pile meringue on filling, taking care to spread the topping around the edge of the crust first, before you fill in the centre. You want the meringue to touch the crust all around, to prevent shrinking. Place remaining meringue on top, then swirl into peaks.
- Bake for 10- 12 minutes, or until delicate brown; watching carefully.
- Remove, and let cool completely at room temperature, at least a couple of hours.
- Note: Sudden chilling will cause beads of moisture to form on top.