Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Lemon Meringue Pie Inspiration
Who doesn't love lemon meringue pie? With its wonderfully sweet and tangy flavors, creamy and soft interior, flaky and delicate crust, and of course the beautiful meringue on top, it's the perfect dessert confection.
I'm sure that many Americans have fond memories of going to Mary Callender's with their rows of pies stacked on top of each other, and choosing that glorious one—the lemon meringue pie. Or perhaps they have memories of buying one from a store, with the crumbly graham cracker crust that matched the lemon so perfectly well.
Maybe nothing should be done to touch the perfection that is lemon meringue pie. But . . . what if you replaced the lemon with pineapple?
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My pineapple meringue pie is wonderfully decadent and gloriously beautiful. I based this on a lemon meringue pie recipe from an excellent cookbook: Hows and Whys of French Cooking, by Alma Lach.
Despite its gorgeous look, with mounds of meringue heaped on top, I thought that it was surprisingly simple to make. The pineapple matches the task at hand quite well, naturally producing a rich and thick custard that mounds itself splendidly into a pie shell, to be covered with great heaping clouds of the meringue, browned in an oven and then chilled for a perfect dessert for any special occasion.
This one went for a coworker's birthday, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
- 2 cups flour
- 8 tablespoons butter, separated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 pineapple
- 6 egg whites
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup kirsch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Prepare the pie crust. Bring 6 tablespoons of butter to room temperature (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. Be careful that it is not too dependent upon liquids, as it can slide down the sides and melt.
- 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. Chop off the skin of the pineapple and then cut it up into small pieces. Place it and the 2 cups milk in a blender and puree until it is smooth. Then transfer the resultant liquid to a saucepan over a medium flame, and heat it until it simmers.
- Mix together the 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour in a mixing bowl. Then add in 4 eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a steady stream, spoon the hot milk-pineapple mixture into the bowl, beating at slow speed with a mixture. Move this into a double boiler. 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 It should not take overly long.
- Remove from heat, and then add in the 1/4 cup of Kirsch or cherry juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons butter. Place the saucepan into cold water to allow it to cool, mixing additionally.
- Once cool, place it into the cooled pie crust, and smooth the top. Beat 6 egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar until the egg whites are a solid meringue, and then use a spatula to put this over the top of the pie.
- 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.