Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

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This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was the classic Lemon Meringue Pie, chosen by Jen at The Canadian Baker. As beloved a dessert as it is, I am not a fan of lemon unless it is squeezed into my water. I was contemplating foregoing this month, but then my sister told me that she would be stopping by for a visit, and she loves a good lemon meringue pie. Finally, a reason to make the pie!

I have never made a lemon meringue (or any type of meringue) pie before, so I had no preconceived notions about what to expect. I had, however, been hearing some rumblings of problems with this pie from other Daring Bakers who had made it early in the month. Having no experience with lemon meringue pie, I was becoming a little apprehensive. However, I forged ahead and went through with the recipe as it was written. I am happy to report that I had no problems with the pie. Aside from the crust shrinking on one side (“There was shrinkage!” – for all of you Seinfeld fans), the lemon curd came together perfectly and the meringue was beautiful. Nick, my sister, and the rest of our guests all loved the pie and said it was wonderful.

To see how the rest of the Daring Bakers fared with the pie, check out the Blogroll.

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I actually think this was the best job I’ve done at preparing pie crust (I can usually never get it that smooth!) and I wanted to document it, so here’s a little tooting of my own horn:

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My sister, Lauren and her (our) friend, Alanna, enjoying their pie (I told you girls you would make the blog!):

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch pie

For the Crust:
¾ cup cold butter; cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup butter
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar


For the Crust
:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch. Cut a circle about 2 inches larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch. Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

75 Responses

  1. I’m in love with that glorious mountain of meregue! Great job!

  2. Looks perfect and lovely crust!

  3. your lmp is sooo gorgeous!! great job you did for this month’s challenge!!!love the photo of you with your sis enjoying it🙂

  4. Thank you baking soda!

  5. Thank you Pixie – I was so proud of that crust!🙂

  6. Thanks dhanggit! It feels good to be back in it since I missed December and the potato bread in November was a flop for me. Oh, and the picture is of my sister and her friend, I was behind the camera😉

  7. That first pic of the pie makes me so jealous, it just looks like a perfect meringue topping. Great job! How great that you had visitors to bake for! Oh, and yes that is a very nice pie crust!!

  8. Oh thank you Gretchen! It was definitely nice to bake for visitors and have an empty pie plate when they left🙂

  9. it looks pretty! Especially the crust!

  10. Aw thanks Ash!

  11. Your LMP looks great! I am glad that it came out perfect for you!

  12. Thanks April!🙂

  13. I love your high mountain of meringue, I just want to dive right into it. 🙂 Your pie looks wonderful, congratulations.

  14. Thanks Amber! I had fun building that mountain😉

  15. Wow- Your crust does look great! The pie looks quite yummy and it looks like you had fun making it- and eating it!🙂

  16. Thanks Katia! I took special pride in that crust😉 Unfortunately I wasn’t the one eating it – I am not a fan of lemon! But my husband, my sister, and her friends all enjoyed it!

  17. Its gorgeous! Your meringue looks oh so good. And I love your sis and her friend posing. Too cute! Well done!

  18. That is a gorgeous perfect crust. Great job and congrats on your first lemon meringue success.

  19. tempered – thank you!! I love nothing more than a great pie crust🙂

  20. Even if you don’t like it, your pie looks great!

  21. Thanks Nikki!🙂

  22. OMG I’m so excited I made the blog!! Alanna is going to be so excited too!! She thinks your some prodigy or something. AND it’s awesome that my Steelers sweatshirt made it into your Ohio kitchen!! Mw ha ha!!

    LOVE YOU!

  23. PS – The pie was AWESOME!! I should have taken the rest with me and eaten it the whole drive home!

  24. Great Pie Michelle! Thank you for including us in your blog!
    It was so much fun to dive into that HUGE meringue mountain!

  25. You’re welcome Alanna! It was so much fun to have you girls here – you’ll have to come back and visit some time! And of course I’m glad that you enjoyed the pie🙂

  26. I love the fact that you made it even though you don’t like lemon meringue pie.

  27. Aw thanks Kate! Just keeping with the Daring Baker mindset😉

  28. Your pie looks perfect, and it looks like your guests certainly enjoyed it!!

  29. Thanks Deborah! I was glad to be able to share it with guests.

  30. look how high you got your meringue!!! Beautiful job🙂

  31. Thanks tablebread!

  32. your pie looks gorgeous, and your sister obviously enjoyed it! Sisters are the best (most honest) judges! x

  33. Thanks Bev! And you’re right – my sister would totally let me know if it wasn’t up to snuff😉

  34. Michelle, the pie was Awesome! As I told you, I’ve never seen such bountiful peaks like that on a meringue pie before. Delish! Thanks!

  35. Aw thanks Jen – you are welcome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed it and it was so much fun having you over!

  36. That looks so yummy, and it’s beautiful too! I’ve never made a lemon meringue pie before, but I think this will be inspiration for my first one!

  37. Thank you Erin! I hadn’t made one before and I thought it would be a lot harder than it was. It has built up my pie making confidence!🙂

  38. I love the huge heap of meringue. It is beautiful.

  39. Thank you Megan!

  40. holy cow that is one beautiful pie! lemon meringue is my mom’s favorite pie. i emailed her a link to your blog entry so she can drool over it🙂

  41. Thanks Kayte! Aww I hope your mom enjoys looking at the pie – you should give it a shot and surprise her!

  42. Hi it’s Kayte’s momma – what an amazing pie you have made!!!! I am telling you I am a lover of Lemon Meran-guey Pic and that is the best looking homemade pie I have ever seen. You should enter it in a State Fair contest!!! You would come in first place!

  43. Great challenge this month and anyone who can get a Seinfeld reference in is OK by book.

  44. Hi Kayte’s mom! Thanks so much for your comment – you are so sweet! I told Kayte to make this pie for you🙂

  45. Thanks breadchick, I figured at least one person would have to appreciate the Seinfeld reference!

  46. Looks like you had a very tall meringue. It looks just divine! And you family appears to have enjoyed it.

  47. That is an insanely beautiful meringue topping! And I am very jealous of your pie dough skills. It looks so smooth and beautiful! Mine always seems to be a bit crumbly and rough.

  48. Thank you Claire! It was so nice to be able to share the challenge with some company!

  49. Thank you Ashley! This was the very first time my pie crust came out that smooth. Usually it’s all cracked and crumbly as well. It may never happen again, so I wanted proof that I did it at least once😉

  50. Gorgeous crust, it really is fluted perfectly.

  51. Thanks BitterSweet, although I really do think it’s an aberration😉

  52. beautiful pie! I’m glad that you had somebody to share it with.🙂

  53. Thank you DaviMack! It’s always more fun to share the baked goods, isn’t it?!

  54. Wow – are you sure you never made meringue before? This is fabulous!

  55. Aw thank you Chris, you are so sweet! It really was my first time – I was just winging it!

  56. You pie looks amazing! I wish my meringue was as sky high as yours. Great job and thanks for participating!

  57. Aw thanks Jen! Thanks so much for hosting and forcing me to conquer my first lemon curd and meringue🙂

  58. Michelle, I was thinking this was getting to be rather loud rumblings of problems. I’m calling you pie “Denver” cause it really is the mile high pie in the bunch! Beautiful job!!

  59. Thank you!! I was getting nervous about all of the flops I heard about, but I lucked out🙂

  60. I must have missed this one! So, if I come over, does that mean I get pie too??? :: books ticket to OH ::

  61. Aud, for you, I would make whatever you request🙂

  62. Your pie looks beautiful!! Great job :O)
    I am not such a fan of lemon deserts so my hubby ate mine! Thank goodness for friends & family!

  63. Thanks Beth! Good thing we had others to pass off the pie too!😉

  64. Really beautiful meringue! I’m glad you had a chance to do the LMP for your sister. Nice job!
    xoxo

  65. Aw thank you Gabi! It was nice to be able to share the finished product with friends and family!

  66. You know.. every once in a while we all deal with a lil shrinkage.. not that there’s anything wrong with that.😉

    Beautiful height on your meringue.. to me that pie looks like it should be in a bakery window. Seriously.

    Well done!
    xoxo

  67. Aww thanks Lisa! You’re so sweet.

    And kudos for being a Seinfeld fan🙂

  68. For someone who has never made a meringue pie before, yours looks beautiful! Great job. And the crust really looks good – I have to say that was my favorite part of this particular recipe, for sure.

  69. Aw thank you Jenny, you are so sweet! I am definitely a crust girl as well!

  70. Wow, that’s a picture perfect pie! Beautiful job!

  71. Thank you Anita!!

  72. Lauren & Alanna look like they’re enjoying your results. Your meringue is *gorgeous,* congratulations!

  73. Wow! I wish I could make meringue like that!!! I just want to smoosh my face in it, yum!

  74. What a gorgeous pie! I love how high the meringue is piled. :0)

  75. […] lemon zest and extract, but not being the biggest fan of lemon (as was evidenced by giving away my Lemon Meringue Pie in January), I took the advice of my friend Laurie (otherwise known as quirky cupcake), who thought […]

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