Lemon Meringue Pie
This classic slice of Americana has a perfectly balanced lemon filling. Not too tart, not too sweet, and sandwiched between flaky butter pie crust and light as air meringue. It’s sure to be one of your favorite desserts of the summer!
Servings: One 9-inch pie
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ingredients for the pie dough:
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (110 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- For the lemon filling
- 4 large egg yolks (use the egg whites for the following meringue)
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or 2 more tablespoons lemon juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Ingredients for the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- To make the pie dough: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt until evenly combined. Add the cold butter cubes and quickly toss to coat in the flour. Cut the butter into the flour by flattening and rubbing it between your thumb and the tips of your first two fingers until all the butter is in small, cornflake-like pieces. Work as fast as you can, the colder the butter stays, the flakier your pie dough will be.
- Mix the apple cider vinegar into the ice water. Using your hand (or a fork) begin adding water, starting with about 2 tablespoons, into the dough by gently tossing and stirring the mixture, taking care not to knead or squeeze the dough too much. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time until it barely comes together in a slightly shaggy mess (it’s ok if it still looks a bit dry).
- Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and flatten it down with the palm of your hand. Fold the dough in half over itself from top to bottom, then again from side to side, making four layers of dough. Flatten with your palm again and repeat the folding. The dough should just come together, and still have small visible cracks. Shape the dough into a disk that is about 1 inch tall, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to rest and allow the butter to firm up.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and place a rack in the middle of your oven.
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour and gently roll your chilled dough into a circle about three inches larger than the edge of your pie pan. Transfer the rolled dough to a 9 inch metal pie pan and roll the edges backwards (away from the inside of the pan) to create your crust. Crimp or pinch the crust as desired for any design you want. Using a fork, create holes all over the crust, and place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the dough again.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and fully line the bottom and sides with foil or parchment and fill with pie weights (you can use dry rice or beans if you don’t have weights). Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until it looks set and dry on the bottom under the weights, then remove the weights and lining. Reduce the oven to 350°F and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until nicely golden. Avoid it getting too brown at this point, as you’ll be baking it a bit more after making the filling. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the lemon filling: In a large saucepan over medium low heat whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar until it’s a pale yellow color. Whisk in the lemon juice, white balsamic and salt and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, whisking constantly. Once the mixture has thickened enough so that it will coat the back of a spoon remove the filling from the heat and whisk in the butter 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time until it is fully emulsified. To ensure that there are no lumps of cooked eggs in the filling, pass it through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl then stir in the lemon zest.
- Once your crust is cooled, pour in the lemon filling, using a silicon spatula or spoon to make sure it is a level and even layer. Place your pie in the oven and bake until the filling just barely wiggles in the center if you give it a shake, about 15 to 20 minutes (this will take longer in a ceramic pie pan). Transfer your pie to the wire rack and allow it to cool while making the meringue.
- For the Meringue: Increase the oven temperature back to 400°F.
- In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar over medium speed until very foamy. Increase the speed to medium high and slowly pour in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding the next spoonful. Once all the sugar is added increase the speed to high and continue mixing until the meringue holds stiff peaks and is very shiny. When removing the whisk from the bowl and turning upside down the meringue should stand straight up and curl just slightly at the point. Quickly mix in the vanilla and salt.
- Spoon the meringue evenly over the top of the pie, making sure that it gets all the way to edge of the filling and touching the crust, creating a seal. If you want, swirl a design into the meringue with a butter knife or small spoon, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the meringue is a beautiful golden brown in the higher areas. Remove the pie back to the wire rack and allow it to cool completely at room temperature for one to two hours before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.