Lemon Meringue Pie

Mary Anne here. Guess where this recipe came from? It may sound like a complicated recipe, but believe me when I tell you, my mom and sister Wendy turn these pies out as easily as a boxed brownie mix!

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Lemon Meringue Pie
Serves 8

Ingredients for Basic Pie Crust:
1¼ cups flour – from stock
½ teaspoon salt – from stock
½ teaspoon sugar – from stock
1 stick sweet butter (8 Tablespoons), sliced – from stock
¼ cup ice water – from stock

Ingredients for the Filling:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar – from stock
1/3 cup cornstarch – $1.79
1½ cups water – from stock
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten – from stock
3 Tablespoons butter – from stock
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice – $2.00
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest – $0.49

Ingredients for the Meringue:
3 egg whites – from stock
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar – from stock
½ teaspoon vanilla, optional – from stock
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice – already calculated
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $4.28
Cost per Serving: $0.54

Pie Crust Directions:
1. Arm the food processor with its metal blade and pour in all of the ingredients, except the ice water.  Press pulse for about 10 seconds or so, until the dry ingredients appear like coarse meal.

2. Slowly, through the feed tube, drizzle the iced water while simultaneously pressing the pulse button.  This step is critical – don’t over mix the dough as it will quickly toughen.  You want to “pulse” it just until it holds together.

3. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the dough out onto it.  With very gently pressure, first form the mixture into a ball, then using the flat of your hands press it into a flat disc.  Remember, the less you handle and maul the pie dough, the flakier the result.

4. Wrap the plastic around the disc and refrigerate one hour. *(You can refrigerate it up to three days before or freeze it for a month.  I often will double or quadruple the recipe, freezing several crusts at once so that I always have a supply for last minute pies.)

5. On a floured counter top or cutting board, roll out the pastry to fit a nine-inch pie plate.  You’ll need about a one inch overhang for crimping/fluting the edges.  Transfer the rolled out dough to the pie plate and tuck and crimp the edges.

6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the pastry with a piece of tin foil and scatter pastry weights or dried beans or uncooked rice across the bottom, pressing them into the curve of the pan.  Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, and then remove the foil and weights.  Continue baking until the crust dries out along the bottom and the edges begin to turn golden.  (The entire baking time is about 20 to 25 minutes.)  Cool before filling.
*(The baked crusts can also be frozen.  Wrap well before freezing.)

Need help making a pie crust? Check out our step-by-step video guide.

Directions for the Filling and Meringue:
1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Over medium heat, gradually stir in water.  Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil.  Mixture will thicken in this process.  Boil one minute.

2. Slowly stir half the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and then return all to the saucepan, blending well.  Stirring constantly, return to a boil and continue boiling and stirring for one minute longer.

3. Remove from heat and continue stirring until smooth.
4. Blend in the butter, lemon juice and grated zest.  Pour into prepared pie shell and set aside.

5. In the bowl of a mixer, whip together the remaining ingredients to form soft peaks.  For a perfect meringue, you must beat mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.  Test for this by rubbing a bit between your fingers.  If it is grainy, beat it some more!  *(Remember that when working with egg whites, your beaters must be sparkling clean and the whites cannot have even a hint of egg yolk in them or they won’t whip into the proper form.)

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover pie filling with meringue.  Bake until meringue is a delicate brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Watch baking time carefully.  The short baking time at a high temperature makes a tender meringue that slices easily.

7. Cool gradually in a slightly warm place away from drafts.

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