Decadent French Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
My Favorite Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Chocolate pies are well-known for their lovely capacity to exceed simple pleasantness and dip themselves into a lavish excess of chocolate nirvana. But lemon . . . well, one would think that lemon would be more subtle. This recipe, however, has no such pretense.
Its superb, strong lemon taste, smooth filling, delicious sweetness, excellent crust (which I regularly use for other recipes), and wonderful meringue combine to form one of the best lemon desserts around. The only problem is refraining from eating too much!
The crust and filling are designed to be sufficient to fill an 8-inch pie dish; for larger pie dishes, adjust accordingly. It will be thicker than the pictures that I have included, as I have increased the quantity of ingredients in the recipe as compared to those that I had initially used, as I prefer a thicker crust.
For the original, thinner pie crust recipe, reduce the amount of butter and flour by 1/3. Also, if one prefers a whipped cream top, I would think that this would be a reasonable substitution.
This recipe is adapted from Hows and Whys of French Cooking by Alma S. Lach.
- 2 cups flour
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/8 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons whipping cream
- 3/4 cup + 7 tablespoons sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup Kirsch or cherry juice
- 2 cups milk
- Prepare the pie crust. Either allow 6 tablespoons of butter to return to room temperature for a while, or microwave it.
- Combine the 6 tablespoons of butter with 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, until the dough starts to form little balls. Then add in the 4 tablespoons whipping cream and combine to form a smooth dough.
- Either roll out the dough into a flat plane, and then put it onto the pie dish, or place into the pie dish and work it directly, so that it covers the entire pie dish. Flute the edges decoratively. Prod it several times with a fork so that air can escape from the crust as it cooks. Cover with aluminum foil and press it over the dough tightly, to prevent the dough from burning.
- Place the crust into an oven for 10 minutes at 350˚F. Remove the aluminum foil, and cook another 10 minutes, then remove. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
- Make the filling. Place the 2 cups milk in a saucepan over a medium flame, and heat it until it simmers.
- Mix together the 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour in a mixing bowl. Then add 2 eggs, 3 egg yolks, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Preserve the egg whites for the meringue. Then, add in the hot milk in a steady, slow stream, beating at slow speed. Put all of this into a double boiler, add the lemon juice from the 2 lemons, keeping a small amount reserved for the meringue (perhaps around a tablespoon), and then the lemon zest from the 2 lemons. Cook this over medium heat until the mixture thickens, it must truly thicken like a custard. This change will be sudden and will transform it from the previous liquid mixture to one much thicker.
- Remove from heat, and then add in the 1/4 cup of Kirsch or cherry juice, and 2 tablespoons butter. Place the saucepan into cold water to allow it to cool, mixing additionally.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 1 tablespoon of sugar, alongside 1/2 cup of water, in a small saucepan. Heat this and stir until the mixture turns translucent, them remove from heat and let cool.
- Beat the 3 egg whites in a mixing bowl. Beat until they stiffen, then add in the 6 tablespoons of sugar, the reserved lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and the cooled cornstarch mixture. Continue beating until the egg whites are a solid meringue, but be careful not to over-beat.
- Pour the lemon custard into the cooled pie shell, smooth on top, then cover with the meringue, making sure it covers the entirety of the pie. Bake for 20–25 minutes, at 325˚F until the meringue is nicely browned.
Step-by-Step Photo GuideClick thumbnail to view full-size
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© 2017 Ryan Thomas