Lemon Meringue Pie

Hello readers! Sorry it’s been awhile…life and work just keep getting in the way…but bakes have been coming out of the kitchen. I thought I’d talk lemon meringue today. Pies aren’t my thing, as I’ve mentioned in this blog before, because I struggle with making that perfect, flaky pie crust that stands up to the moisture of pie filling. I consistently practice, but just haven’t found the right pie crust for me. The struggle is real.

I made my first lemon meringue pie recently and it went, okaaaay. Right out of the oven I thought, “man, I nailed this”! As the pie cooled, I thought, “hmm, something didn’t come out quite right.”

After loads of research, I realized that I allowed the filling to cool for too long before I topped it with the meringue. It’s imperative that you have the meringue ready to top the piping hot filling with because the steam travels up and cooks the bottom layer of meringue. Without this, the heat from the oven will heat up the filling and trap steam in between the filling and meringue resulting in a watery layer that will eventually cause everything to separate and become runny. Yuck.

My meringue came out beautifully and so I do recommend following this recipe below, but time things carefully to ensure that you don’t make my mistake with the filling. Remember, PIPING HOT!

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Meringue

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Gradually add 3 tablespoons cold water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
  2. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. For filling, in a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in butter and lemon peel. Gradually stir in lemon juice just until combined. Pour into the crust.
  5. For meringue, in a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is clear. Transfer to a bowl; cool.
  6. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in cornstarch mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. (HINT: multi-task if you have a stand mixer and have your meringue whipping up while you are still stirring your pie filling in the sauce pan!)
  7. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Mini Pavlova

I first heard of the pavlova dessert when it was featured on the Great American Baking Show in a showstopper challenge. I thought they were so beautiful and looked incredibly yummy and of course, I wanted to try to make them. I settled on trying a “classic” pavlova (meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruit) to try and get the hang of it first. It’s actually a rather easy-to-follow recipe…it just requires patience and attention to the little details.

MINI PAVLOVA

Ingredients:

6 eggs whites, ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Frosting:

1 1/2 cups COLD heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar

For topping:

Fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 225° F with the rack in the center of the oven.

LINE a large baking sheet with parchment paper (you may need two sheets). HINT: if you use two sheets, make sure you avoid the top rack and bake the pavlovas in the bottom 1/3 of the oven.

BEAT 6 room temperate egg whites on high speed for 1 minute until soft peaks form. With mixer on low, gradually add 1 1/2 cups of white sugar and beat for 10 minutes on high speed, or until stiff peaks form. The mix will be smooth and glossy.

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FOLD in (using over/under motion) 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, then add 2 tablespoons of corn starch and hand mix until well blended. HINT: pre-measure these three ingredients while the mix is beating for 10 minutes as you want to quickly make these additions without letting the mix sit for too long.

PIPE meringue onto parchment paper (I used aWilton 1M open star tip). Using a spoon, indent the center to allow room for the cream.

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BAKE at 225° F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then, turn off the oven and DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Leave the meringue in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.  The outside will be dry, crisp and very pale while the inside is like a marshmallow.

TRANSFER the pavlova (leaving it on the parchment paper is best) to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile…

BEAT cold heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with 2 tablespoons of sugar for about 2 1/2 minutes.

PIPE the frosting onto the pavlovas and top with fresh fruit.

I found that it’s best to leave them in the fridge as if left out at room temp, the whipped cream will start to fall through the meringue. It’s still delicious, but not quite as pretty to look at.

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These babies are sugar bombs. The whipped cream is necessary to curb some of the sweetness of the pavlova. But they are a unique texture that is sure to win some fans at your next gathering!