I love classic custard and meringue pies, especially lemon meringue and lime meringue pies. This recipe is perfect for summer, but let’s be honest, I make it year-round. The one in the picture is made in my vintage Pyrex fridge dish (approximately 8″ x 6.5″ x 2.5″), but I’ve also made it in a traditional pie pan. I think I prefer the fridge dish version because it makes a deeper pie.
Lemon Meringue Pie
- Baking dish
- Food processor
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup very cold water
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups sugar
- 6 tbsp cornstarch
- 1½ tsp cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks beaten, and save the whites for the meringue
- 3 tbsp butter
- zest from 2 lemons
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 4 egg whites
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ tsp vanilla
- Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.
- Add butter and lemon zest.
- Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add water gradually (approx. 1 tbsp at a time.) You might not need all of the water. Continue to pulse until crumbs become wet and begin to stick together, but do not over-process. It should not form a dough ball.
- Dump crumby pie crust mixture onto a floured work surface and form a ball.
- Shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Roll out pie crust and fit into greased pie dish. Poke holes in the bottom. Ideally, use pie weights when you bake it. Bake until crust is golden. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until they’re foamy.
- Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat.
- After all sugar is incorporated, continue to beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. I used the third speed on my KitchenAid stand mixer for beating the meringue. The meringue should form a stiff peak when the beater is turned upside down.
- Beat in vanilla.
- Set aside egg yolks in a large heat-proof bowl.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it boils (it should also be thickening.)
- Let it boil for about a minute, continuing to stir so the sugar doesn’t burn. Definitely don’t skimp on the boiling or think it’s “close enough” – this is how you end up with runny filling! Depending on your range, you may need to turn the heat up above medium. I usually use a candy thermometer to make sure the temperature continues to ride toward boiling point and doesn’t plateau.
- Pour about half of the hot mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, stirring the yolks constantly.
- Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, continuing to stir.
- Bring to a boil (tip from above about candy thermometer still applies), and boil for about 2 minutes while stirring constantly.
- Remove the mixture from the heat.
- Add the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir until the butter is melted.
- At this point, the mixture should be a fairly thick consistency.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Pour the filling into the baked pie crust.
- Top with meringue. Make sure the meringue has a tight seal to the crust and doesn’t have any gaps. Ideally, you want the meringue to cover the crust edges so they don’t burn.
- Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes on a middle oven rack, but watch the meringue so it doesn’t burn!