Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

This dessert is a favorite in my house with my husband and all my children (especially my men folk) -- they are all lemon lovers. I can take it or leave it, but the challenges presented in making one keep me interested in creating the perfect pie. If you've ever made a lemon meringue pie, you know those challenges -- creating a filling that holds up and doesn't run all over the plate when sliced, and creating a meringue that neither shrinks up nor weeps like a teenage girl.

This recipe is perfect, but depending on the weather and the temperature in the house, my meringue can shrink and/or weep -- there are some factors that are just beyond my control. These pies are beautiful right out of the oven, but the meringue did shrink a little bit by the time we cut the pies six hours later. The filling was perfect, in flavor and substance, however.

I have noticed, in my hunt for the perfect lemon filling, that lemon meringue pie recipes can vary greatly. Some contain milk, others not. Some call for extract and others only grated peel, and others, niether. Mine is smooth -- I have omitted the peel because my family likes a perfectly smooth filling. And I have included extract because they like it extra lemony. I used a recipe from Taste of Home as starting point for the filling, but the crust and meringue are the ones I always use and have tweaked for my family.

Lemon Meringue Pie
serves 6 - 8

one recipe for a 9" pie crust, prebaked and cooled
(mine can be found here -- bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes)

1-1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1-1/2 c. water
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 T. butter
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 t. lemon extract

4 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
6 T. sugar
1/4 t. vanilla

Pre-bake pie crust and cool.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gradually stir 1 cup hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter until melted.
Stir in lemon juice and extract. Pour hot filling into crust.

Beat four egg whites with cream of tartar.
Slowly sprinkle in sugar and add extract, beating on high until whites are stiff and glossy and hold their peaks. Spread carefully and evenly over hot filling and push meringue up against edges of crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until peaks are golden brown -- being careful not too brown too much. Cool for at least and hour and then refrigerate to serve chilled or serve at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.


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