Filed under: Meringue Pies
November 9, 2022

Lemon Meringue Pie

My version of the best lemon meringue pie: this recipe uses a sharp lemon curd filling, a lofty very vanilla Swiss meringue topping and it’s held together in a flaky, all butter pie crust. 

Yield: 1 standard pie, feeds 8-10
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My version of the best lemon meringue pie: this recipe uses a sharp lemon curd filling, a lofty very vanilla Swiss meringue topping and it’s held together in a flaky, all butter pie crust. 

 

This recipe happened because when I thought about thanksgiving dinner and making the apple and pumpkin pies… the only pie I truly really wanted to eat and indulge in, was lemon meringue. I’ve had a very lemony, meringue 2022 and I think this just *fits*. So before I make it for us on this T-Day, I wanted to give you my own version of the classic lemon meringue pie. 

While it’s classic in terms of flavor and idea, it’s not at all made the traditional way. My filling has very little water and starch so is definitely more tart and more lemon curd like. Also I opt for swiss which I always find easier, rather than French as I find Swiss more reliable, smooth and easier to make overall.

Recipe Ingredients 

Lemons: Fresh ripe lemons! If they are not organic, wash them well, rubbing off the wax with a towel. If you are wary of a very tart filling, you can reduce the lemon juice by 2 tablespoons and substitue with water. 

 

Pie Crust: You can either make mine, or another recipe you like (everydaypie has a very flaky one that looks so good!) or you can use store bought. 

 

Eggs: Make sure your eggs are nice and fresh! No need to bring them to room temperature. 

 

Sugar: Fine granulated sugar. I wouldn’t reduce it in the meringue as it will affect the structure. You can probably reduce it some in the curd but you’ll have a more sour filling. 

 

Vanilla: I like to use a combination of vanilla bean and vanilla extract in meringues, I want a very vanilla taste that overpowers the bland sort of ‘eggy’ taste you get in a plain meringue. You can scrape a vanilla bean or use paste, but also definitely add extract. 

 

Salt: Fine sea salt. If using table salt, halve the amount. 

 

Starch: I usually use tapioca starch, it has less of an after taste and doesn’t ‘cloud’ up the liquid, but you can also use cornstarch.

 

Butter: unsalted so we can control the overall salt level. European or american is fine, the latter is smoother and a bit richer but it won’t affect the overall filling by much. 

 

 

Make ahead Lemon Meringue Pie

 

There’s a lot of steps to making any pie but this one in particular has some time saving perks which come in handy. First, you can make your pie crust ahead of time and store it in the fridge (up to 2 days) or in the freezer (months). 

 

You can make the filling up to the point of stirring it in with the butter (but leave out the starch and water) and store it in the fridge for up to a week. Right before you pour it into the pre-baked pie crust you’ll stir in the water and starch. 

 

You can also make the pie, up to the point of baking, a few days before serving. The pie crust gets a little err, ‘fridgey’ if you will, (you know, that fridge taste) but you could store it in an airtight container to prevent that. 

 

Usually I say that the thing that needs to wait to be made until the day of serving is the meringue. It can be made the day of (early in the morning is fine) and stored in the fridge, but torched closer to the time of serving. 

 

I say this but as someone who bakes regularly on a strange schedule, I often make my pies including the meringue and store them in the freezer. The torched part of the meringue gets a bit soft but other than that it’s still pretty good! 

 

When is a pie crust done blind baking? 

 

Different pies require different blind bakes, depending on how much the filling needs to bake. I like to work backwards to figure out how much time I need the crust to bake asking: how much time left does the crust need to cook? 

 

 For a curd-based pie like this one, we only need 15-20 minutes in the oven at 350. So you want the bottom of the crust to be cooked and browned (since this is a rather wet filling) and the edges should already be turning a tad golden before the filling goes in. 

 

How do I know when the filling is done cooking? 

 

You can use a thermometer which should read at 165 or 170 to be very precise. If you don’t have one, use the back of a spoon: dip it into the filling and then lift, it should coat it completely. 

 

How do I know when the filling is done baking? 

 

When it jiggles just a bit in the center. The overall filling will look matte (not ‘wet’) and will be firm on the sides. The rest will firm up as it cools and then chills. 

 

 

The Chocolate Ganache Layer in a Lemon Meringue Pie 

 

I have this thing where I really, really like dark chocolate and lemon curd together. You’ve seen it in these ice cream sammies, these curd bars and soon you’ll see it in some cookies too. I made this pie a few times to get everything just right and with one, I just HAD to do it once and well, I loved it. It’s a thin layer of ganache on top of the curd and under the meringue and I do think it adds something wonderful. Ok, I’m absolutely obsessed and it’s my favorite pie with this layer. Don’t judge! 

 

Why do you have two egg options for the meringue topping? 

 

Right so if you want to be really crazy and have a fantastically impressive tall layer of meringue, use the six egg white and 1 ½ cups sugar. If you want a standard filling (like the one with the ganache middle) then use four. Four is pretty standard 

How do you torch a meringue pie? 

 

I use a kitchen torch but you can also stick this under the broiler for a minute or two. Keep an eye on it.

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
Chill Time: 1 d
Yields: 1 standard pie, feeds 8-10

Ingredients

Lemon Filling

  • Zest of 4-5 lemons wash them first to remove wax
  • 205g or ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 220 g or 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 85 g or 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ tablespoon tapioca or cornstarch

Vanilla Meringue Topping

  • 3-6 egg whites six for a very tall meringue
  • ¾ - 1 ½ cups granulated sugar higher amount if using 6 egg whites (for every egg white use 1/4 cup sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste plus a scrape of vanilla bean if desired
  • Pinch fine sea salt

Method

Blind bake the crust

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the crust and shape onto pie pan. Cover with foil and add pie weights. Bake the crust for 30 minutes.
  • Remove pie weights and dock the bottom, lower the heat to 350 F. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

To make the filling

  • Zest the lemons straight into a pot. After you juice the lemons add the juice to the pot as well. Stir in the granulated sugar.
  • Whisk in the eggs and pinch of sea salt.
  • Slice the butter and set in a bowl. Over the bowl place a
  • Set the pot over low heat and whisk well. Stir frequently as the curd cooks. Once thickened and you can see it cover the back of a spoon, or temperature reaches 170 F take it off the heat. Pour the curd through the mesh sieve into the butter. Stir until butter has melted and is fully incorporated. Add the water and starch and stir to combine.
  • When the crust is ready, pour the filling in and return it to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, until it only jiggles slightly in the center.
  • Let come to room temperature then store in the fridge.

To make the Meringue Topping

  • Fill a pot ⅓ of the way with water and set over medium low heat, bring to a simmer. Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl then set it over the pot of simmering water.
  • Use a rubber spatula to stir the mix, scraping off the sides of the bowl so it heats evenly. Keep stirring and scraping until you can pinch the mix and detect no sugar granules. Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer (the bowl should be very clean, free of any kind of oil) and begin whipping.
  • Whip the mix on medium speed, adding the salt and vanilla as you go, until it reaches stiff peaks ie. you can turn the whisk upside down and the meringue holds peaks.
  • Spread it over the pie and use the back of a spoon to create pretty swirls. Use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue. Store in the fridge until it’s time to serve. With the meringue on the pie, it won’t last in the fridge more than a day before the meringue starts to leak. You can freeze it but it will change the texture of the meringue.

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