Recipe by PanNan
I made this pie this weekend. It's adapted from The Perfect Recipe cookbook by Pam Anderson. Wow, we agreed it was the best lemon meringue pie recipe we'd ever had. The filling is very lemony sweet/tart and fluffy. The meringue is tall and fluffy/light. Prep times are estimated. It takes a little time, but is well worth it. Lemon meringue pie was first invented in Philadelphia. This recipe represents the Mid-Atlantic U.S. region.
Top Review by Marysdottir
Sorry, but this just didn't work for me. The crust was good, the meringue lovely (I used all 6 egg whites and adjusted the sugar etc to compensate). The problem was with the ingredients and method of making the filling, I think. I have only made LMP a few times and always used a recipe that had a lemon curd type of filling. Never a problem with runny filling or flavourless filling. Due to the rave reviews I thought I'd try this to see what I was missing. My first question was about adding so much water to the filling ingredients. I noticed many LMP recipes use a water and cornstarch based filling which seems to provide much less flavour than one using mostly or all lemon juice for the filling. I also didn't understand adding unbeaten egg yolks to all that sugar and cornstarch. That seems like asking for trouble along the lines of little bits of tough egg floating in the filling. Why not combine the water and beaten egg yolks or even a little water and egg yolks? Or add some of the cold water to the sugar and cornstarch, then add the rest to the yolks and combine? It would prevent egg lumps that one reviewer said she dealt with by using an immersion blender. Then the cooking instructions seem backwards. They say to cook the sugar, cornstarch, yolks and water "until thickened", then add the lemon juice, rind and butter. I did cook the sugar mixture until very thick (like icing or heavy custard) but once I added the juice and the butter it became pourable and never thickened up again. The pie has been in the fridge for 24 hours and the filling is still the consistency of melted ice cream. Why not cook the filling with the butter and lemon juice in it so you can accurately judge the consistency? Did I cook it too long? Not long enough? There is no real way to know. The taste is okay but not special even using fresh lemon juice, sweeter today than yesterday we all agreed, and the meringue did not weep at all. It looked lovely until we cut it and it poured itself out of its crust. IMHO, just not worth the effort given the ease by which one can make a real lemon curd for such a pie and avoid the issue of "will it or wont it" thicken.
Graham Cracker Coated Pie Shell
- 1 1⁄4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, frozen
- 3 -5 tablespoons ice water, as needed
- 1⁄2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup cornstarch
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice (fresh from 2 - 3 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions See How It's Made
- Make pie shell: Mix flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, by pulsing a few times.
- Scatter the frozen butter pieces over flour mixture.
- Pulse in 1-second pulses about 5 times to mix in butter.
- Add frozen shortening; pulsing in 1-second pulses until mixture resembles cornmeal with pieces about the size of peas.
- Slowly add ice water through the processor feed tube, with motor running, one tbsp at a time.
- When dough forms a ball, stop processing.
- It should take about 2 or 3 tbsp of ice water to reach this stage.
- Shape dough into a ball in your flour coated hands, and then flatten into a 4 inch wide disk.
- Flour disk and wrap in plastic.
- Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Generously coat your work surface or pastry sheet with a little flour and about 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs.
- Place dough on floured surface, coat with some flour and graham cracker crumbs, and roll into a 9-inch disk.
- Lift, coat surface with more graham and flour, turn dough, add more graham and flour on top, and roll out to a 13 inch disk.
- Place into a 9 inch pie pan, and finish edges.
- Refrigerate crust until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Prick dough with a fork to prevent bubbling up in the oven.
- While the oven is pre-heating to 375, put pie crust in freezer.
- Bake at 375 for 20- 25 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it's browning evenly and not bubbling up.
- Lemon Filling: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large, nonreactive saucepan.
- Add egg yolks, then immediately but gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups water.
- Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking regularly, 8- 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Remove from heat, whisk in zest, then juice, and finally butter.
- Keep warm until meringue is made.
- Meringue topping: Mix cornstarch and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened.
- Remove from heat when translucent and thickened.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix cream of tartar and sugar together.
- Beat egg whites with whip attachment of mixer until frothy. Add vanilla.
- Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tbsp at a time.
- Then drop in cornstarch mixture, 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form.
- Pour warm lemon filling into pie crust.
- Distribute meringue evenly over the top, starting with the edges, and then the middle.
- Make sure it attaches to the crust.
- Lifting with the back of the spoon, create peaks in the meringue.
- Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Cool completely before serving.