Lemon Merginue Pie

THE MOST DELICIOUS OF THE PIES!  Seriously, I’m not a big fan of pie, usually too much dry crust and mushy fruits.  But lemon meringue, there’s something about the sourness of the lemon and the airiness of the meringue that just gets me.  This is from Fine Cooking and they have a good video showing some of the tips here.  I will warn you this takes like four hours from start to finish with a fair amount of attention required, so make it when you have a free afternoon.
Note: The original recipe has you use some gingersnap cookies below the custard to keep the pie crust crisp.  I didn’t do this because I didn’t have gingersnap cookies and I didn’t want to go to the store, and my pie turned out just fine without them.

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Sorry the picture’s a little dark.  It took so long to make the pie it was dark out by the time we were able to eat it.

Serves 1 Pie Lover (1 Pie)
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 Pie Crust

For the Custard
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
5 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about 3 medium lemons)
1/3 cup lemon juice (from those very same lemons)

For the Meringue
5 large egg whites, room temperature (I told you to keep them)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1.Somehow make yourself a cooked pie crust in a buttered 9 inch glass pie plate.

2. In a 3 quart saucepan mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

3. Whisk in 1/4 cup cold water until the mixture is smooth, then mix in another 1 1/4 cups cold water until combined.

4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and the constantly as it starts to boil (a couple large bubbles will form and pop).  The mixture should turn into a semi-translucent gel, total cook time 4-6 minutes.

5. At this point whisk briefly and then mix with a spatula pulling the sides towards the center.  After doing this for one minute, remove the pot from the heat.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly.

7. Gently whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar gel and repeat with another 1/2 cup.

8. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining sugar gel and cook just as before. (4-6 minutes over medium-low until boiling then one minute more).

9. Remove the pot from heat and dot the filling with butter, pushing it below the surface.  Let it stand for a minute to allow the butter to melt.

10. Gently whisk in the lemon juice and zest until smooth.

11. Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth with a spatula.  Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before making the meringue.

Meringue Time!  This is a Swiss meringue which means we are going to cook the egg whites and get a fluffy marshmallow like meringue, but you can feel free to do a classic French meringue by just whipping the hell out of some egg whites and sugar.  Also, to save time and your wrist, this assumes you have a stand mixer.

12. Bring 1/2 inch of water to simmer in a pot that you can makeshift into a double boiler with the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (but don’t put the mixing bowl over the hot water yet).  Turn the burner to low after it starts simmering.

13. In your mixing bowl (off the heat) whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy.

14. Add the sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, whisking for a couple of seconds between each addition.

15. Put the mixing bowl over the hot water and slowly whisk.  You’re not trying to add air yet, just dissolve the sugar and keep the eggs from cooking.

16. After 2-4 minutes the eggs should be warm to the touch and you should not be able to feel any sugar grit in the mixture.

17. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and take the mixing bowl off the heat and put it in your stand mixer.

18. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment.  Slowly increase the speed from low to high over about a minute.  Beat to stiff peaks (3-5 minutes).

19. Spread all of the meringue over the pie with spoon, make sure it anchors to the pie crust the whole way around the pie.  Press down as you go to make sure there are no air pockets.

20. Make fun spiky curls by touching the back of the spoon to the meringue and pulling away.

21. Brown the meringue either in your ovens broiler or with a kitchen torch.  If you broil make sure to rotate it to get the whole thing.

22. Let the whole shabang rest for about an hour to setup and then enjoy.

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