If there’s one thing I adore doing – it’s baking for a friend. I think being able to present someone with a creation of sugar and confection that you made with your own bare hands is potentially the best thing in the world. I slaved over this, it says. I want you to eat the entire thing and ask me for seconds, thirds and eventually the whole recipe. Lemon Meringue Pie wasn’t something I had made before but when Florane said it was her favourite pie – there was nothing to be done. I had to make it – and I was excited about it. A baker faced with a new recipe is a dangerous thing and I am no exception. I want to see all the ways to adapt the recipe, I want to mess with it, make a thousand different ways and see how I can experiment with sugars, flours and additions. Thankfully, I was restrained by a friend and we stuck with a classic (for now) pie recipe. Do it for me: break out your white lab coat and burn things, find the most incredible flavour combinations out of accidents and eat as many adaptions as you can (and tell me about them in the comments).
Notes: I used the Food52 classic recipe and was working with a non-broiler oven, so any discrepancies you might note come from this issue
- 1 pre baked 9 inch pie crust (or make your own – excellent option here!)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tsp lemon zest
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Start out basic- get a medium/large saucepan and combine water, lemon juice, sugar and salt (and cornstarch) – keep at the whisk and bring the oddly lumpy mixture to a boil. I am not joking around when I say you need to stir constantly for at least 75 seconds. It will seem like the mixture is just destined to be goop until Bam! Shock! Awe! It has become filling-like.
- Whisk your yolks together in a separate bowl and slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture – it should look mildly disturbing. Slowly pour the whole cornstarch mixture in, and then pour it all back in the saucepan and heat it under low heat (no boiling) for constant 60 seconds of stirring.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Is it disturbing? Do you know question why lemon meringue tastes so good? I did.
- Pour the filling into your pie crust (make sure it’s done if you are making your own at this point) – smooth over a piece of parchment paper and set it in the refrigerator. At this point, if you’re making fresh meringue for the day off, stop for the night – take your socks off and go to bed. Otherwise – continue on!
- Whisk together the sugar and egg whites. Get out another pot and boil some water (or if you are fancy, have a double boiler…) – place your bowl over the water and dissolve the water, stirring occasionally.
- If you have a broiler – preheat it. Whip those egg whites until the peaks form and then add in salt & vanilla extract. If you’re having difficulty with the peaks, consider adding some cream of tartar or leftover cornstarch in moderation.
- Take out the pie, gently remove the parchment paper and spread the meringue on top – spreading all the way to the sides. Make it artsy, don’t – it’s your prerogative.
- Cook the pie in the oven for 20-60 seconds or until you see some lovely golden brown spots – and pop it back in the fridge until you’re about to serve it
- Eat and serve and entertain your friends. It will be the talk of the town – I promise!