Of all the American pies, lemon meringue pie is the most dramatic of all. Torched white metingue pie heaped on top of the golden, ribbed pie. Slice it open to discover a beautiful golden yellow lemond curd inside!
One of my friends that lemon meringue pie was his favourite when he was a kid because lemon meringue pie was like no other pie. He loved separting the top meringue part to discover the lemon curd inside. No other pie did that!
There are couple of key things you have to keep in mind to make sure to have a dramatic pie.
First is to make sure not to overwork the dough for the pie and that the butter is very very cold. To make a beautiful meringue which doesn’t crack or is flat, you have to make sure to whip the meringue to the point of developing stiff peaks and no more. For a delicious curd, make sure to use fresh lemon use.
Also, to get the beautiful charred meringue you don’t need a blow torch. Baking the pie at a really high temperature at the end will give you a beautiful finish.
The pie is a lot of work but it’s totally worth the effort! I hope you will give this lemon meringue a chance!
If you have any questions please ask them in the comments!
Happy Baking, my friends!
- 400 gram plain flour maida in India and all-purpose flour in USA
- 320 gram unsalted butter very cold and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 250 gram sour cream cold; can replace with milk or cream if you can't find sour cream
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs or a tbsp of plain flour
- 75 ml lemon juice please use freshly squeezed lemon juice, about ten lemons
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 75 gram sugar
- 75 gram butter unsalted and cut into small pieces; room temperature
- 1/2 tbsp corn flour or arrow root powder
- 120 gram egg whites about four small eggs
- 240 gram caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 tsp cornflour
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Make Pie Dough
- Make sure the butter is very cold (important). It's key to have the visible butter pieces in the dough to make a flaky, light pie crust.
- Mix together the flour and butter in a mixer to get a crumbly mix. Use the mixer on pulse setting as you do not want to completely mix in the butter.
- Mix in 2/3rd of the sour cream to the mixer and and mix on the pulse setting for less than a minute. Add more cream if the mixture does not come together
- Pour the mix on a baking parchment and pat it down into a round circle or rectangle about 2 inches high. Do not knead as the heat from the hands will melt the butter
- Divide the dough into two parts – slightly larger for the bottom crust and smaller one to be used for the top crust or decorations
- Cover both parts completely in a parchment paper to make sure that the dough doesn't dry out and the smells of the fridge do not get into the dough
- At this point, you can leave the dough in the fridge overnight. But if making pie on the same day, leave it in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes
Make Pie Shell
- Take the larger portion of the dough out of the fridge. Use a rolling pin to make a circle about 3-4 mm thick and 12- 13 inch in diameter, large enough to completely cover the pie pan
- Sprinkle bread crumbs or plain flour on the bottom of a 10 inch pie pan (optional)
- Gently lift the rolled out pie and set it in the pie mould. Gently presss the dought to the sides of the pan (but don't over press it). Make sure to have some overhang over the edges as the pie shrinks when baked
- Cover the pie with a parchment paper and put it in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes
- Take it out of the fridge and prick the bottom of the pie with a fork just before setting in the oven
- Blind bake the pie: Cut out a large circle from the parchment paper. Cover the pie with the paper and add beans of any kind (or porcelain baking beads) on top of the parchment so that they completely fill the pie pan. The weight of the beans prevent the crust from rising. This is called blind baking the pie
- Bake for 15 minutes at 200C
- Take out the pie from oven, carefully remove the beans and the parchment paper
- Bake for another five minutes to get the beautiful golden colour. Set it aside to cool
Make Lemon Curd
- Beat the egg and set it aside (for later use)
- Mix together lemon juice and cornstarch until it's smooth paste
- Add in the sugar and pour the mixture in a thick bottom pan
- Set the pan on low heat, stirring it constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble (about 2-3 minutes)
- Pour the mixture in the beaten eggs while whisking furiously (it's super important to whisk the eggs to sure the eggs don't turn into solids or clumps form)
- Return the mix to the heat until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring continuously
- Remove the mix from the heat
- If you notice that egg has clumped, put it through a strainer to remove any solids (optional if notice any solids)
- Add in the butter and whisk until the butter melts
- Set aside to cool. Curd can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a day
- Make sure to measure the ingredients as you need the exact amount for this recipe
- It's extremely important that all the utensils that use are completely dry and don't even have a hint of grease. A small amount of water and grease will destroy the meringues. I rub all the bowls, mixer blades, cutlery and piping bags with lime or lemon to remove grease from the pan and then use a dry dish cloth to remove any lemon residue
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 degree centrigrade
- Spread the sugar in a baking pan and place it in the oven for seven minutes
- Remove sugar from the oven and mix in the corn flour and baking powder
- In parallel, start beating the egg whites using the whisk attachment on an electric mixer. Make sure that there is not even a hin of egg yolk as it will destroy the meringue. Whisk on low speed for 1-2 minutes until the eggs are foamy
- Add cream of tartarStart beating at medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until the stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are formed when the eggs turn completely white in colour and start to hold shape. If you lift the whisk out of the mix, you should notice little peaks
- Then start adding sugar one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites
- Beat for about 6-7 minutes or longer if using a handheld electric whisk. The meringue is done when stiff peaks form
- To test if stiff peaks have formed lift the whisk out of the mixture and turn the whisk upside down. If you notice little bits of meringue mixture standing straight, then the meringue is done. It's fine if a big blobs of mixture don't form stiff peaks
- Another way to test if the meringue is whipped properly is to turn the bowl upside down. If meringue doesn't move, then the meringue is done. If you whip the meringue too much, it can become loose and liquid so be careful not to over beat
- Mix in the vanilla essence (optional)
Assemble the pie
- Heat the oven to 220C
- Fill the pie shell with lemon curd almost to the top (but leave a little space at the top.
- Add the meringue on top of the lemon curd in a big heap. Make sure that the meringue touches the top of the pie shell. This will make sure that the bond will form between the pie shell and the meringue
- Set the pie in the oven.
- Baking it at such a high temperature will brown the top of the meringue in abput 4-6 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as it can burn too much fairly quickly
- Take the pie out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for couple of hours before serving
It’s important not to over or underwhip the meringue Pie will keep in the fridge for couple of days