I woke up a few days ago with a clear and distinct craving for lemon meringue pie. Sweet memories of summer meals on our backyard picnic table ending with this amazing pie. I don’t think I’ve had it in over a decade.
(photo above, via Flickr)
This is a pie whose simple and intense flavors belie a little bit more work than I like to put into a dessert. A tad bit fussy to make, not at all fussy to eat. It’s been (unfortunately) turned into a too-sugary, not-lemony-enough, rather-artificial-tasting concotion by lots and lots of restaurants and grocery store chains.
Nothin’ beats the real thing.
I made it without a crust – partly because I was trying to keep it as healthy as possible, and partly because it made it a lot simpler (& quicker) to put together. I’m not a big pie crust gal, so I didn’t miss it. But you can certainly put this pie into your favorite single pie crust, or grind up some ginger snaps or graham crackers and mix that into a crust with some butter or coconut oil.
Lemon Meringue Pie (long-standing family recipe)
In a bain marie (double boiler) mix 3/4 cup of sugar, 6 tbsp of arrowroot flour (or cornstarch), 1/8 tsp of salt and 2 cups of water.
Stir constantly for about 12 minutes, until it’s started to thicken. Then cover and cook on low for about 10 more minutes, stirring a few times.
Remove from the heat and add 3 egg yolks (save the whites separately). I found the easiest way to add them in without “scrambling” them in the mixture was to add a bit of the mix to the egg yolks in their little bowl (repeating this several times) to bring the temperature of the egg yolks up before adding them into the larger pot.
Beat the egg yolks well into the mixture, cooking them for about 5 minutes on medium-lower heat (still in the double boiler).
Then add 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed (if at all possible) organic lemon juice, and at least 2 tbsp of the rind. It’s best to carefully wash even organic lemons with soap, as they probably will have travelled quite a ways. I found organic lemons in a sealed plastic bag at the store. Do not cook the mixture now, just remove from the heat, and pour into your pie plate.
Meanwhile, make your meringue.
On high speed, I blended the 3 leftover egg whites with about 1 tsp of sugar (you can certainly add more) until stiff peaks formed.
Dollop the egg whites onto your pie, breaking them up as little as possible, and place in the middle of a 425F oven for about 5 minutes.
I found it’s best to completely chill the pie before serving, especially if you’re going piecrust-less like me.