It is one of my friends’ birthday today! Happy birthday!! He is a wonderful fella who always manages to make me laugh or support me when I’m whining about my life. He puts 120% into his teaching, often staying up way late in order to be prepared for the upcoming weeks, and always sharing all his resources with me. Plus, he loves the color purple and it’s basically because of him that our school switched its colors to purple and silver from red and black. Which, let’s be honest, is a lot better.
Now, his favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie. I tried to make it about two years ago when I was first starting my baking craze, and I only had a hand mixer. Things went very poorly and it was a meringue that people who don’t even know anything about baking would have been ashamed of. It was the best I could do, but it still wasn’t enough.
SINCE THEN, I have gotten my beautiful stand mixer, Molly. Molly can whip things up like nobody’s business. I haven’t actually tried meringue since that last fateful day. But it’s his birthday, and he’s always so great, and now I HAVE A STAND MIXER.
And what did I get?
Gloriously gorgeously stiff, perfect peaks of luscious meringue.
I’m so excited about this pie. No joke. The shine on the whites was glossy, the peak was so stiff, and it spread on the pie and made these exquisite shapes that held and then turned a soft, creamy brown in the oven.
I can’t get over this. It’s wonderful. I love it. I’m so excited.
Finally, finally, I feel like I’ve given this man his just desserts.
Hahahah. I couldn’t resist.
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1 9″ single pie crust, blind-baked
- 1 cup flour
- 1 stick butter (8 tbsps)
- ~2 tbsps ice water
- Lemon Filling
- 6 tbsps cornstarch
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 3 tbsps butter
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 6 tbsps sugar
- Make the pie crust. I add the flour to my baby food processor, add the butter (chopped up real small and very cold), and pulse it a few times until the butter is in the requisite pea-sized shapes. Then, add the water slowly, and mix continuously until dough comes together. Turn out of processor, shape into a disk, fold into plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least one hour. After an hour, roll out and shape into pie tin. Poke multiple times with a fork and weight down with pie weights (this will keep it from poofing up in the oven). Additionally, I put mine back in the fridge for 20 minutes while the oven was heating up so that it wouldn’t poof too much. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.
- Make the lemon filling. (Preheat your oven to 400°.) In a medium saucepan, dissolve the cornstarch into the water. Add the sugar and heat. Bring to a boil, then boil for 1 minute to make it thicken. Pour about half of it into the egg yolks, whisking LIKE A MADMAN because otherwise you get scrambled eggs. When successfully whisked, pour the egg/sugar mixture back into the saucepan and simmer for 1 minute. Take off the heat and add the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Spoon (okay, I poured) the lemon filling into the pie crust.
- Make the meringue. In your stand mixer (if you have a hand mixer or are whipping by hand, may Cthulhu have mercy on your soul), pour the room-temperature egg whites and the cream of tartar. Make sure your bowl and whisk are immaculately clean and there is no egg yolk whatsoever in your whites. Begin whisking. I set mine at, like six out of ten. Add the sugar really, really gradually. Eventually I kicked it up to, maybe, 8. I think I whisked for about 10 minutes total. I stopped at about 7-8 minutes and tested the peaks, but they were still pretty soft, so I did it a little longer. They should look glossy but not foamy and there shouldn’t be any liquid seeping out. If there is, it means the weather is too humid and there’s nothing on Cthulhu’s green Earth that you can do to make this situation better.
- Spread the meringue over the pie, making cool swirls if you want. You could be fancy and pipe it but I was so afraid of de-whipping the meringue that I barely even wanted to try making swirls. The fear is real. Pop it in the oven at 400° until the meringue is browned. It was in there for about 6-7 minutes for me (because, again, the fear is real and I didn’t want it to get too brown). Pop it back out, allow to cool, then pop it in the fridge.
- Gloat over the glory that is meringue-y success and spend the rest of your Sunday luxuriating in the glow of victory.