Lemon Meringue Pie

This week's recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen.
Serves 8. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Total Time: 1 hour plus cooling time.

Be sure that the filling is still hot when spreading the meringue over the pie. The pie should be served the same day that it is prepared for best flavor. 

1.5 cups cold water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Plus...one large pie crust or two smaller crusts. I chose to buy the Pillsbury brand, but I'm sure baking your own tastes even better!

Making this pie was a bit more time consuming than expected, as I completely forgot that up here in the woods of Door County we don't own an electric mixer. I was forced to beat the meringue completely by hand with a wooden spoon. I have to admit I felt kind of resourceful and old-fashioned. Let's just say I got my arm workout in. This is a pie I recommend for all summer occasions- lemon is the perfect fruit for the season. If you love a light, zesty, soft taste, this one's for you. 

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake pie crusts according to directions on package. 

Sugar, Cornstarch, Salt, and Water

Lemon zest- my favorite part of the process!

Juicing the lemons made me crave fresh squeezed lemonade!

2. For the filling, combine water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer while whisking constantly. 

3. When the mixture starts to turn translucent, whisk in the egg yolks, 2 at a time. Whisk in the zest, then the lemon juice, and finally the butter. Return the mixture to a full simmer, then remove the pan from the heat. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface of the filling to keep it hot while making the meringue. 

4. For the meringue: bring the water and cornstarch to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. When the mixture turns translucent and begins to bubble, remove it from the heat. 

5. Whip the egg whites and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Mix the sugar and cream of tartar together, then add it to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to medium and whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cooked cornstarch mixture to the whipped egg whites and continue to whip egg whites until they are glossy and form stiff peaks. 

This is how the meringue should look after beating- stiff peaks that don't curl over.  It's hard to not over (or under) beat the egg whites. Tricks I've learned include...use a stainless steel bowl, let eggs sit till room temperature, and check frequently to see the status of those peaks.

6. Remove the plastic from the lemon filling and return to very low heat to reheat, about one minute. Pour the hot filling into the baked, cooled pie crust. Dollop and spread the meringue over the top of the pie, making sure to adhere the meringue to the crust. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks in the meringue. 

I decided to bake two pies since the pre-made pie crusts I bought were quite shallow. I didn't want to risk the meringue overflowing in the oven.
7. Bake pie(s) until the meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving. 

The two pies worked out perfectly- we ate one and I delivered the second to our neighbor  who was so excited to receive this fresh dessert.

My family enjoying their slices- we all had seconds!
I get tons of my recipes from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook, an investment I strongly recommend. 


Since I'm in Door County, next up: Cherry Pie?? 


  1. WOW love this post:) and I LOVE your blog and Im of course following

    Check out my new Ikea post and have a great day dear :)

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)


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