the marriage of the perfect crust, the richest lemon filling, and the
best meringue. This may be the best lemon meringue pie recipe ever.
For the crust:
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/3 cup pastry or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons butter
For the meringue:
1 cup plus
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
6 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the crust:
oven to 350 degrees.
1. Cut the butter into chunks and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
It is important that the butter be partially frozen. Measure the water
and put it in the freezer. Add the vinegar to the water.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl.
3. With a pastry knife, cut the butter into the flour mixture, continuing
to cut until the mixture becomes coarse and grainy. Add the water all
at once. Mix with a fork until the dough starts to come together and
then knead it with your hands until you form a dough ball. Add another
teaspoon of water or a little flour if necessary to reach the right
constituency. Refrigerate the dough ball for 20 minutes.
4. Roll the dough out into a disk large enough to fit in a nine-inch
pie pan with a 3/4-inch hang over.
5. Place the dough in a dark nine-inch pie pan and form the crust. Form
a fluted edge with your fingers. The crust should not have any seams
through which the filling can leak. Prick the bottom of the crust lightly
but not enough to completely penetrate the crust.
6. Line the unbaked crust with a sheet of aluminum foil. Place pie weights
in the foil-lined crust. Bake for ten minutes. Remove the pie weights
and bake for another ten minutes or until the pie crust is lightly browned.
For a crispy crust, do not under bake.
note: While making the crust, we do not want to let the dough get warm
enough to melt the butter. Therefore it is important that the water
and butter be ice cold. It is necessary that the butter remain a solid
and not become a liquid. Work quickly to keep the butter cold and do
not handle the dough any more than is necessary.
For the filling:
1. In a medium
pan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Add a little of the water
and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the cornstarch is mixed in
without lumps. Add the rest of the water and lemon juice and whisk until
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often with a whisk, for five minutes
or until the slurry thickens and is translucent.
3. Add the eggs yolks and zest and whisk well. Cook for another two
minutes, stirring with the whisk constantly. The filling should be simmering.
4. Remove the filling from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool
for ten minutes and then scrape the filling into baked pie crust. Refrigerate
the pie for two hours.
For the meringue:
oven to 375 degrees.
1. In a small
saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and stir. Cook
over medium heat until the sugar water boils rapidly, stirring occasionally.
Cook for four minutes. The sugar syrup should reach the soft ball stage,
234 to 240 degrees with your candy thermometer.
2. While the sugar syrup is cooking, whip the egg whites. In a steel
or glass bowl completely free of any fat residue, beat the egg whites,
salt, and cream of tarter together until soft, not stiff, peaks form.
Try to time the initial beating of the egg whites so that it is done
not more than five minutes before the syrup is cooked.
3. While beating the egg whites with an electric mixer, drizzle the
hot syrup down the side of the bowl and into the softly beaten egg whites.
Add the vanilla. Continue beating until stiff, glassy peaks form.
4. With a spatula, scrape the meringue onto the pie. Spread the meringue
to the edge and seal the meringue to the crust. Use the spatula to form
an attractive mountain of meringue with peaks and ridges. Bake the pie
for six to eight minutes or until the meringue is attractively browned.
(Further baking is unnecessary since the meringue is already cooked.)
at room temperature beat to a higher volume. You can bring your eggs
to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of warm water for five
in the bowl will retard the formation of foam in the egg whites. Plastic
bowls often carry an unseen sheen of fat within the surface of the bowl.
of the hot syrup drizzled into the egg whites is to cook the egg whites
to a temperature of 160 degrees. The cooked egg whites will be much
more stable and less likely to weep. Cooked egg whites are also less
susceptible to bacteria. Use your insta-read thermometer and check the
temperature of the egg whites after adding the syrup. If the egg white
mixture is not close to 160 degrees, discard the mixture and start again.