As I have said before, I think meringue pies intimidate people and for good reason. The meringue part can be tricky. However, with a few key tips,you can make a beautiful meringue pie and really impress everyone! I got these tips from my mother, who has probably made more meringue in her life than most of us will ever need to see or will want to. My favorite meringue pie is chocolate, but my second favorite is this lemon pie. It just has the freshest lemony taste to it and is the perfect ending to a meal! You will be surprised how easy it is also. Here is all you will need to make this:
1 9 inch pie shell, baked
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cups cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3 egg yolks slightly beaten
2 tsp. zested lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. butter
2 drops yellow food coloring
3 egg whites (eggs should be left out a couple of hours at room temperature)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
Prebake your pie shell in a preheated 400 degree oven just until it is lightly browned, about 13 minutes. You can make your own crust or use a froze or refrigerated crust. To make the filling mix the sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and zest and bring up to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of hot mixture to beaten egg yolk to temper them. Add eggs to pan and cook until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in the butter. Remove from heat and add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring. Pour into your baked pie shell.
Now, to make the meringue. This is where you have to pay close attention. The egg whites should be placed in a CLEAN glass or metal mixing bowl. Everything that touches the meringue, mixer, bowl has to be clean and dry. I realize you always cook with clean items, but if any residue at all of oil or anything is on these items it will cause your meringue to fall. Add 1 tsp. of baking powder to the egg whites and start to beat the whites with an electric mixer on high. Gradually add in 4 Tbs. of sugar, continuing to beat. When stiff peaks start to form (this takes some time) add in 1 tsp. of corn starch and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Don't go too heavy on the vanilla or it will change the color of your meringue or use the colorless.
Gently spread the meringue over the top of the pie. Make sure to seal the meringue all the way around to the edge of the crust. If you don't do this and it gaps, the meringue will pull away from the sides of the pie and will sink and not stand up tall.
Place in the preheated 400 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes or just until lightly browned. Watch it carefully! Voila, a beautiful lemon meringue pie!
COOKING TIPS: To recap the important tips to a successful meringue pie, 1) your eggs should be taken out of the fridge a few hours ahead of time and let come to room temperature, 2) make sure the bowl and your mixer beaters are extremely clean and dry when you are making meringue, and 3) seal the meringue all the way around to the edges of your crust.