This is a recipe I tried from a cookbook Gordon ramsay wrote but I can't remember which one.
Yes it is a lot less work to make the store bought mix, but this is much tastier. It is well worth the time and effort.
In a heavy, non reactive, medium saucepan, thoroughly whisk together, granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in water until the mixture is completely smooth.
Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat slightly and cook whisking constantly, until very thick, smooth and translucent, about 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Whisk in the butter until melted.
In a deep medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Whisk about ½ cup of the cornstarch mixture into the yolks until blended.
Whisking vigorously, slowly add the yolk mixture to the cornstarch mixture until well blended.
Return pan to medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously and scraping bottom of pan, until the mixture boils for a full 2 minutes. Don’t undercook as the filling may thin out and become runny later.
Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice…vanilla.
Strain the filling through a fine sieve into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in lemon zest. Taste filling and stir in more lemon juice or sugar, if desired. Cover and set aside.
To make meringue: In a completely grease free large bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Using a mixer on low speed (with a whisk shaped beater if available) beat the mixture until frothy. Raise to speed to medium and continue beating until mixture is smooth, fluffy and opaque but still too soft to hold peaks, (check by stopping and lifting the beater) immediately add the powdered sugar 2 tbsp at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after every addition. Add the vanilla. Raise the speed to medium high and beat for 2 ½ minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Raise the speed to high and beat for about 1 minute, or until meringue is fluffy and stands in firm but not dry peaks.
Microwave the filling on medium power, stopping and stirring once, until piping hot, about 1 ½ minute. Turn out the filling into the pie shell, spreading to even the surface. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread about half the meringue over the filling making sure the meringue touches the pastry all the way around. Add the remaining meringue, mounding it slightly in the middle. Attractively swirl the meringue with a table knife or the back of a large spoon.
To bake the pie: bake for 12 to 17 minutes, or until meringue is cooked through and evenly tinged with brown all over. For even browning, rotate the pan from front to back after 6 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 2 hours and then refrigerate until completely cold before covering; this will prevent the beading and weeping of the meringue. The pie will keep for 4 days, covered and refrigerated.