One of my most favorite desserts to make is lemon meringue pie. If you are a baker, you won’t find this recipe daunting. If not, skip it and go buy a pie at Marie Callender (or Anna Miller if you live in Honolulu).

First you have to make the crust. I have tried many different crust recipes and you may have a favorite. But if you don’t, this classic from Better Homes and Gardens red/white checkered cook book is always good.

First preheat oven to 450.

Blend one and half cups of flour with one teaspoon of salt. Add half a cup of Crisco and cut into the flour until it is about the size of peas. You can do this in two steps. One quarter cup at a time, or all at once. Add four or five tablespoons of ice water one at a time and mash with a fork. Gather up into a ball. (If you are anti Crisco, see recipe below)

I think you could do this in the Cuisinart and process till it forms a ball. But I’m an old fashioned girl and I rather enjoy making pie crust the old fashioned way.

I roll this between two sheets of waxed paper, but if you prefer you can flour a board and roll it out that way. I like the no mess method. Plus you can pick up the dough with the wax paper. Remove top sheet, flip over onto pie pan and then peel off  what is now the ‘top’ sheet.

Bring the edges up and flute them in a nice scalloped pattern. Easy way to do this is with your fingers. Two on left hand with index finger on right hand indenting edge between the two. Got that?

Prick dough all over with a fork and bake at 450 for about twelve minutes. Cool.

If you cringe at using Crisco, here is another one from the same cookbook that you might like. Two cups of flour/1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. I use King Arthur unbleached flour. Half a cup of salad oil and five tablespoons of ice water. Mix and form into two balls.

This makes two pie crusts. Proceed as above.

Lower oven temperature to 375.

Now for the lemon filling. In a saucepan put one cup of sugar and one third cup of cornstarch. Separate three eggs and add the yolks and one and a third cups of water.

Stir constantly over medium heat till it is thick and bubbly. If it looks too thick, you can add a spoon or so of water. This takes about six or seven minutes.

Remove from heat and add 1/3 cup of lemon juice and the lemon zest from one lemon, one tablespoon of butter and stir till smooth. Pour this hot filling into the cooled crust.

To make the meringue put the egg whites in a mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Beat till foamy and then gradually start adding 1/3 cup of sugar while still beating and beat till peaks stand up. Some people put a little cream tartar in their meringue to make it stiffer, but I usually don’t do this.

The French way to make meringue is in a big copper bowl. You beat the whites by hand with a whisk. The copper reacts with the egg whites and makes them very nice.

The only problem is that I don’t have a copper bowl and the only place I have found one is Williams and Sonoma and it is $145. I’m sure there are other ones at various kitchen stores and online. Maybe I’ll check out Amazon.

However you do it, spread the meringue over the filling. Be sure to bring the meringue all the way to the edges and ‘seal’ the crust.

Bake on the lowest rack of the oven at 375 for about ten minutes. When the meringue is lightly browned it is done.

Remove, cool and enjoy.

I like to put in the refrigerator after the first warm slice, and eat it cold. This is excellent with a glass of milk. Makes a great breakfast.

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