My stepdaughter is having a birthday and then she’s going off to join the Air Force. Wow! It is tradition to have the birthday child to select the type of dinner and cake she/he would like for their celebration. This one likes pie. Apple pie, lemon meringue pie, pie! This year she has selected barbecue ribs (Hubby’s job to grill) and lemon meringue pie which is mine to make.
I have a French cookbook of the coffee table variety which has a wonderful recipe for lemon meringue pie with a lemon curd. That uses butter. I also looked at one of my British baking books which has both a lemon curd tart and a lemon meringue pie. Which to make?
I decide to go with the lemon meringue pie from Home Baking: Cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, bread (Paragon Publishing 2005). I am not following this exactly because…well, just because! Almost, but adding one more egg and one more lemon. Here are my ingredients:
- single pie crust; I recently made a batch of the apple cider vinegar pie crust and have one disc in the freezer. I thaw this out.
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups cold water
- juice and grated zest of 3 lemons
- 1 cup of sugar, divided
- 3 eggs, separated
The pie crust needs to be pre-baked. i do not do this well. I want to buy some of those pie beans or some such to learn to do this better. But I have to make do with what is available. I do not have dried beans in the pantry. What to do? Last time I tried to pre-bake a crust I put a pot lid on it and this was not successful. It puffed up underneath the lid and the edges shrunk. This time I fit a disposable foil pie tin inside the pie pan and then put the lid on it. The recipe says to prick the crust all over and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. I did this and then uncovered the crust and let it bake for another 10 minutes raising the temperature to 375 F. This worked nicely, light brown, no shrinkage.
Now for the filling. I do a nice mise en place. I have misplaced/lost the insert to my old-time juicer so juicing the lemons is not as fun or simple as it was before.
Mi the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the cold water. Put the remaining water in a medium sized pot along with the lemon juice, zest and cornstarch paste. Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in 5 tablespoons of sugar and the egg yolks. I temper the egg yolks by stirring in a little of the lemon mixture first so as not to have scrambled eggs in the lemon pudding. Pour all of that into the pie shell.
Whip the egg whites until stiff and then whisk in the remaining sugar. I read up on meringues and later figured there should have been more sugar and I should have waited to put the sugar in and should not have whipped them so stiff. Anyway I then had to spread this carefully over the top of the pie. And since it was so stiff it did not spread easily.
Very lemony taste! I am not sure why the meringue cracked unless it was because i whipped the egg whites too stiff. It was enjoyed by all!