I was sweet sixteen and couldn't boil water, but I made this pie from scratch--my first achievement at culinary success! My goodness, that was 52 years ago! My children love this pie so much that they would beg me to make them one each and every year for Christmas, and so I did. My daughter dropped hers on the floor three years in a row, and I had to make her another one. This is a tart lemon meringue pie, and if I say so myself, it is very delicious. Lots of lemon flavor and creamy goodness, and mile high meringue make it a show stopper for any meal. In 52 years, I have never given out this recipe. It is time to share it with the world. It now belongs to you. Enjoy!
1Pie crust is your first step. Prepare your crust and bake it in the oven. You may use a ready-made crust, your own recipe or the recipe below. The second step will be to read through this recipe so you are familar with it as you proceed.
This is my solution to keeping the pie crust nice and flat instead of lumpy. I bake my pie in a 10 inch glass pie dish. So I take a tin foil pie pan that will fit INSIDE the 10 inch pie dish on top of the uncooked pie crust. I spray the BOTTOM of the tin foil pie plate with pam. Place it in the pie shell and add about a cup of dried beans. That will be sufficient weight to make it work.
3Here is how the pie crust looks after baked with pie weights.
4Put the tea kettle on to boil water. It is best to assemble all ingredients before you begin. Place your egg beaters in the freezer and your egg whites in the bowl you are going to make the meringue in and refrigerate. Grate the lemon rind. Use level measurements. A timer is very helpful.
5Mix dry ingredients first, then add water for no lumps. Use a whisk to make it smooth and then do your stirring with a wooden spoon.
6Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, boiling water and the lemon rind in a deep non stick saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring until smooth, and then cook over low heat until thickened and no taste of cornstarch remains, constantly stirring about 15 minutes. Use the timer. It will be a sort of white color. (Once in a while, depending on altitude and climate, you may need to add a little more cornstarch than the recipe calls for so it will be thicker.)
7Remove from heat and add the butter and mix well. Beat egg yolks slightly and add lemon juice; add to hot mixture slowly and mix well. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not boil. It will now be a nice yellow lemon color. Remove from heat and set aside.
8Fill your pie shell and it will be full!
9MERINGUE: Beat 6 egg whites until frothy, add a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup sugar a little at a time--then beat until stiff and glossy, and makes stand up peaks. Cover the pie with meringue. SEAL THE EDGES. I pile the meringue in the center and work with a flat bowl scraper to the edges of the pie. Cover the pie so there is no separation between the filling and the meringue. Now bake your beautiful pie in a hot oven at 425 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. It will look like my picture. The tip of the peaks will be darker brown. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Cool on a rack in a draft free place until totally cool, then refrigerate. (If you put a warm pie in the refrigerator, you will have some moisture droplets on your meringue.)
10Chill overnight before cutting (the hardest part is waiting!) Enjoy!
This is Ina's recipe and it has always worked for me. This recipe makes two 10 inch pie crusts.
12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 -8 tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)
1. Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
2. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
3. Add the butter and shortening.
4. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.
5. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
6. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball.
7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8. Cut the dough in half.
9. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board.
10. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan.
11. Repeat with the top crust. If you are using a single crust, flute the edges.
12 **Ina prefers to use Crisco shortening, that has been stored in the refrigerator.
12Cook's Tip: Just a tip: make sure the filling gets very very thick and glassy looking when you are cooking it on the stove. That way, it will have no trouble setting up. Cool completely before refrigerating, and let the pie set overnight before cutting it, so it has time to set up. Thanks and enjoy!