Nana's Lemon Meringue Pie

By • December 2, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a no-nonsense, almost by the book, lemon meringue pie with a small twist. It is the recipe that my grandfather craved and that my grandmother loved to make. The short baking time at high heat ensures a well-colored yet pillowy meringue on top. Matthew Bounous

Food52 Review: This is a great go-to lemon merinuge pie recipe. It's sweet, tart, and incredibly easy to make. I prefer my lemon meringue pies a bit more browned, so I left mine in the oven a little longer than instructed.DeannaMarie


Serves 6

Pie Dough

  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (just in case)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  1. Grab a large glass bowl and weigh your flour. Sieve the flour into the bowl ensuring that you remove all of the lumps. Add a pinch of salt. And place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut your butter into small cubes. Place this is in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  3. Now, remove the bowl from the freezer and add the butter. Toss the cubes of butter in the flour and gradually incorporate the butter by rubbing the cubes over your fingers with your thumb.
  4. When the butter is incorporated and the flour looks like a series of small peas/pearls. Add in the egg yolk about 1/3 at a time. And mix. The dough should be just wet enough to hold together, but not too dry that you cannot pickup loose pieces of dough when running the dough around the bowl with your hand. Note: If the egg yolk is not enough, then add cold water a drop at a time.
  5. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and form into a round. Set in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface and dust the top of the dough as well, then roll the dough into a 10-inch round that is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Repair any cracks with a dab of water. Tuck into an 8-inch pie tin by rolling the dough over the rolling pin and unfurling over the pie tin. Pick up the sides and gently tuck the dough into the corners, and remove excess dough around the rim of the tin with a knife.
  7. You can either wrap this in plastic wrap and freeze until needed or place in your refrigerator for 15 minutes if planning to use the same day.
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove the pie crust and plastic wrap. Line the pie crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Blind bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the pie shell from the oven and discard the beans/parchment paper. Brush the pie shell with the whisked egg and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Lemon Filling & Meringue

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-fine sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 ounces extra-fine sugar
  1. Mix the cold water, salt, and cornstarch and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  2. Combine hot water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil.
  3. Once the sugar is boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the cornstarch slurry. Whisk constantly until thickened and no lumps are present, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Temper the egg yolks by pouring a small bit of the cornstarch into the yolks and whisk. Pour another small portion into the yolks and whisk again. Then take the tempered yolks and pour back into the saucepan and whisk one last time until thoroughly combined.
  5. At this moment, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter. Stir until incorporated. Allow this mixture to cool.
  6. Preheat your oven to 410° F.
  7. In the meantime, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until just broken and fluffy, then slowly add the fine sugar into the whites while whisking. When the whites hold a soft peak, stop. And proceed slowly; you do not want to over-beat your egg whites. When you pull the beater from the whites, the peak should be stiff, but just slightly curl at the tip.
  8. Now, add the lemon filling to your prepared pie shell -- smooth it out until it is nice and flat and filling all of the pie shell. Carefully transfer the meringue to the top of the filling. Be gentle! You want to keep that volume. Mound the meringue in the center and delicately push it to the edge of the pie shell. Smooth the top at an angle so that you have a small mound/peak in the middle with a slight swirl.
  9. Place into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. Yes, only 7 minutes. At this point, the meringue should be slightly browned, crisp on the surface, and fluffy in the middle. Allow the pie to cool and serve in 6 equal portions...or 3 generous portions.

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