Friday, June 8, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon meringue pie is one of three pies that I know how to make, which is a real shame because pie is my favourite dessert, so I should really learn to make more. Anyhow, this recipe is taken from I can't claim any credit for it, though I did change one small detail. It's super-yummy and my husband said that it was "perfect." High praise, indeed.

You will need the following ingredients for this recipe:

-1 cup white sugar
-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-3 Tbsp cornstarch
-¼ tsp salt
-1½ cups water
-2 lemon's worth of juice and zest
-2 Tbsp butter or shortening
-4 eggs
-6 additional Tbsp white sugar
-1 9-inch pie crust (I just used a store-bought kind)

Separate the eggs. They don't come in until later, but I just want to warn you that you will want to separate them. DISCARD NOTHING!

The filling is the first part. So, in a saucepan, combine the 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Then stir in the water, lemon juice and lemon zest.

When you squeezed the lemons (because I know you used fresh lemons - not artificial lemon juice!), you probably noticed that some seeds came out. Maybe you tried to remove the seeds from the lemon beforehand. Maybe lemon seeds are why you used artificial lemon juice (bad!). Instead of these silly things, just squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and pour the juice through a little strainer like so:

That way, none of the seeds (not even the tiny ones!) will get into your pie filling.

So, cook that baby at a medium-high heat. Here's the confusing part, because the original recipe says "until mixture comes to a boil" and then a few steps after it begins talking about thickening. I don't know what thickening agent that author used, but it must not have been cornstarch. Cornstarch begins thickening very, very quickly - it's not going to wait until after your mixture has come to a boil. So, go ahead and let the mixture thicken and come to a boil, but make sure you are stirring frequently. If you don't, the mixture will burn.

Stir in the butter. The original recipe calls for butter. I used shortening. Worked just fine.

So now your mixture is thickened and boiled. You are now going to address the egg yolks. So, you have your egg yolks separated. Whisk them together really quick, then add is a little bit of the lemon filling (about ½ cup total) and stir it up, then add the egg yolk mix back to the filling and stir it in really well. I love this part because it gives the filling a really rich, yummy-looking yellow colour.

Next you're going to take your nice, thickened filling off the heat and pour it into the pastry shell. A quick warning to my Jewish/Muslim/vegetarian friends out there: lots of store-bought pie crusts are made with lard. Lard=pigs! Look for a Kosher sign, such as this:

If you see that, you'll know you're safe. Because Jews don't eat pigs. Because gross.

Now, the meringue! The meringue is very simple. Place your egg whites into a medium-sized or large mixing bowl and whip them (I see them hand whip on TV, but I highly recommend an electric mixer) until they're foamy. From there, continue whipping them, adding a little sugar at a time. I usually add one Tablespoon at a time. Keep whipping until the meringue can hold its shape (more or less - I never whip it super-super stiff). Then spread it over the filling, sealing at the edges.

Cook at 350° F for twelve minutes. The meringue should be golden brown and scrumptious-looking.



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