So If you Ask or hint out that you love a certain dessert or pastry, there is a 100% chance I will make it for you. I love when people ask for one of my specialies ,but really really love when people ask for something I haven’t made or is gonna be a challenge. My friend Karen hinted about a month before her birthday she loved Lemon Meringue Pie ….so when the time was right thats what she got ! 

Its always an adrenaline rush when you haven’t done something before, right? I will say you may run into the risk of the pie not setting and once you place the Meringue top on and bake its hard to tell whats going on inside .(so pay attention to the directions and timing) Then there is the Meringue. The Meringue knows it’s the opening act for the rest of the pie , so it can be alittle finicky if not properly done .  So here it goes . This recipe is adapted from The American Test KItchen Baking Book,  my Bible . If you don’t own this book GET IT NOW I swear on this book. The great thing about this baking book, they do all these recipes until they get the right one perfected. Its totally up to you but I would make the pie crust but I understand that if you have a favorite store bought one …. use on. 

Three parts to this pie . Crust. Lemon Filling. Meringue.

Pie Dough For Prebaked Pie Shell

Ingredients 

 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoon vegetable shortening, chilled 

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

4-5  tablespoons ice water 

About a half cup of  Graham Cracker Crumbs

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and blend until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture and texture resembles course sand, about 10 seconds. Place the butter pieces over the flour mixture, cut the butter and flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, small peas size butter. Usually about ten 1 second pulses. Place the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber Spatula, fold into the mix. Press down on the dough until it sticks together. Adding up to 1 tablespoon of ice water if dough is not coming together . Flatten into a disk about 4 inches. Wrap in Plastic, refrigerate at least 1 hour. But can be done 2 days before. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator Sprinkle 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs on the work surface when rolling out the dough. Sprinkle more crumbs over dough. Continue this process until heavyily covered in graham cracker. (place the dough in between two peices of parchment paper to a 12 inch circle. transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie pan.) Working Clockwise ease the pie dough by lifting and pressing into the pan . Trim off some of the excess dough hanging over pan.Tuck the remainder under . Then you can flute, pinch or use fork tongs for the outer edges. Place in the pie dough in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes then place in the freezer for another 20 mimutes.

Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle postion and heat oven to 375 degrees. remove the dough lined pie pan. Press heavy duty foil inside the pie shell, you want to fold the foil under the edges. If you have baking weights use them or do what I do and use Rice to place over the foil. Bake for about 25 -30 minutes, dough should look dry and light in color. Remove the foil, continue baking until deep golden brown about another 10-12 minutes, tranfer and let cool completely. 

Lemon Fillling

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup cold water

6 large Egg yolks

1 tablespoon grated zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice ( 2-4 lemons)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

Meringue

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

1/3 cup water 

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon vanila extract 

For the filling . Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water in a large saucepan.Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Whisking  occasionally at the beginning and more frequently as the mixture begins to thicken. When the mixture starts to simmer and turns translucent, start to whisk in the egg yolk, 2 at a time. Whisk the zest, then the lemon juice, and finally the butter. Bring the mixture to a good simmer , whisking constantly. Remove from the heat , place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling . This prevents a skin from forming and keeps it hot .

Meringue: Mix the cornstrach with the water in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally at the beginning and more as the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat when the mixtures start to simmer and turn translucent .

Heat the oven 325 degrees. Mix the cream of tartar and sugar togehter. Beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture forms soft peaks. Add the cornstarch mixture, one  tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the meringue to stiff peaks. Remove the plastic from the lemon filling and return to very low heat during the last minute of beating the meringue. Pour the hot filling into the pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, distribute the meringue around the edge and then the center of the pie to keep it from sinking into the filling. Make sure the Meringue attaches to the crust. Create peaks all over the meringue. Bake the pie until the meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool . 

I was totally nervous about the filling setting ….but later on Karen sent a reinsuring picture. 

I hope you get a chance to make this soon .Keep me posted ! Send Pics !

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