I’ve been thinking about making this pie for way too long, and I’m so glad I finally had a reason to make it. In my family, pie is our number one go-to dessert. Of course we love cakes, candies, cookies, and bars, but I can say with certainty that the lot of us will choose a slice of pie with ice cream over anything else.
My Poppa’s birthday was this past weekend, and he requested a homemade lemon meringue pie. My secret to a perfect pie? Make it with love. Measure the ingredients like you are creating a masterpiece. Follow the instructions step by step, and bake slowly. Love what you bake, and love who you bake it for. It makes the eating process a sacred event.
While whipping together the filling for this pie, the smell of fresh lemons whisked through our kitchen for hours. The lemon particles lingered in the air and mixed with the cool breeze coming through the screen door. Even the light, lemony scent on my fingertips lasted until bed time.
Of course, eating the pie was the best part of the whole process. The filling was perfect, baked in a delicious homemade pie crust. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe because it is the absolute best recipe out there! Seriously.
The filling for this recipe was taken from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook, and makes enough filling for one 9-inch pie.
Perfect Pie Crust
1. Get the recipe and directions here.
Lemon filling ingredients:
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 ½ cups water
½ cup strained fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
2 to 3 tbsp grated lemon zest
4 large egg yolks
2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt thoroughly in a medium saucepan. Then whisk in water, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest until blended well.
4. Whisk in egg yolks until no yellow streaks remain. Add unsalted butter.
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup), at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup superfine sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp vinegar
1. In a clean, grease free glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
2. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft but definite peaks form.
3. Very gradually beat in sugar. Beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff and glossy, but not dry.
4. Add vanilla and vinegar.
5. Immediately spread the meringue over a hot pie filling, anchoring it to the edge of the crust at all points. Place meringue VERY close to the crust, working inward.
6. Bake for 20 minutes (or until meringue has a nice brown top). The pie can be stored for up to three days in the refridgerator.
7. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Note: when applying a meringue to a pie, it is important to spread a band of topping around the edge of the crust or dish before you fill the centre. If you cover the centre first, you are likely to displace some of the filling and cause it to spill over.