Lemon Meringue Pie
I am posting this recipe for a pal that I work with. The lemon meringue pie is definitely a kitchen project that has techniques that need some mastering. It is a good project to master as it builds the techniques that form the basis for many upper level baking and candy projects. I will not offer in the recipe every technique used but I will give enough terminology for you to look up any areas that you need some skill training. At some point I will make a video of this project and load it along with this recipe. I am not ready for that at this moment. My blogging skill is coming along slowly. I am poorly tooled to make and edit videos at this time.
Please read my instructions carefully and completely as you start this project. You will make the lemon filling in one stainless bowl and the meringue in another back to back while trying to get the meringue to properly peak and onto the lemon filling before the lemon filling forms a thick skin. Then you will brown the meringue topped pie under the broiler to just place a nice color on the topping. I used to use a propane torch in the restaurant to get this done more quickly and move to other tasks…but I suggest that you use the broiler.
Places that are “got-chas” like too thin lemon filling and non peaking meringue can be all repaired and or avoided by some technique bolstering.
I prep the eggs first. I leave my eggs out in their shell and let them equalize temperature to almost room temp. Then I will separate the eggs from the yolks. See the attached video link you will love this. So technique 1 the how to separate yolks from the whites in the eggs.
Squeezing the lemons. I take a room temperature lemons and roll them on the counter while pressing on the lemon. This helps the juicing process.
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup lemon juice, I use fresh squeezed
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place the egg yolks in a medium sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
Then, in a heavy bottomed saucepan whisk the sugar with the salt and cornstarch.
Gradually pour in the boiling water, whisking constantly.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and, whisking or stirring constantly, bring just to a low boil.
Adjust the heat and continue to cook the mixture for a minute or two or until thick and translucent.
Remove from heat and whisk a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks (to temper the yolks). Then whisk the egg yolks back into the hot mixture.
Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, on medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just reaches a low boil. Adjust heat and cook for a few minutes (until you see large breaking bubbles) to cook the egg yolks. Remove from heat and whisk, or stir, in the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. If there are any lumps in your filling, strain.
Then immediately cover with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming) while you make the meringue.
In a stainless bowl whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter.
Place the stainless bowl in a double boiler fashion into a pot of low boil water. Constant whisking is needed as the egg whites and sugar combine.
NOTE: You are looking to achieve a nice gradual rise to 160F in the egg white mixture
Remove from heat and whip the egg whites with your hand mixer or perform the task in your stand mixer until the egg white forms stiff peaks
Add vanilla and continue to beat.
Place lemon filling into your pre-baked pie crust
Even off the lemon filling in the crust
Place the meringue on top of the lemon filling.
Outside edge towards inside middle is the best method to place meringue on the pie filling, making sure that the meringue touches the crust.
Use your meringue spoon to press on the meringue to burp out any air bubbles
Place the pie under a hot broiler until the meringue has browned.
Chill and serve
Lemon Meringue pie does not have a long storage life. This is not a candidate for make a few days ahead and store type of pie….if you are having a party and serving this pie, make this last on your list and have it ready no longer than 12 hours before serving. Store in frig uncovered.