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Lemon Meringue Pie



Lemon Meringue pie is my husband's absolute favorite dessert. I have come a long way from preparing it with canned lemon pie filling. On my first attempt at scratch, I used a recipe that I found in Southern Living. Over the years, I have made a few tweaks to get that just right combination of sweet and tart. This recipe can be a little time-consuming if you make a homemade pie crust. Trust me; the buttery, flaky crust is worth it.


Lemon Filling

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

5 Large Egg Yolks = room temperature (save whites for Meringue) - farm fresh cage-free, range-free is always the best

2 tsp lemon zest (right from your fresh lemons)

2 Tbsp butter


Meringue

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar plus 2T sugar

5 Large egg whites (use the yolks in the lemon filling)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


9 Inch Pie Shell (your choice of homemade or ***frozen)

1 Butter Pie Crust (see recipe below)

1 Egg white

1 Tsp water


***If using a store bought frozen pie shell, follow the directions on the package to blind bake the shell before adding pie filling.


Homemade Buttery Pie shell

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 sticks butter cut in cubes (be sure it is straight from the fridge - do not allow it to warm on the counter top)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

8 Tbsp ice water


Homemade Buttery Pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add butter (use a pastry cutter, two forks or you fingers) and mix until mixture forms crumbly pea size balls. Add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time and stir gently until the dough comes together. It should still look crumbly. Squeeze a small amount together. If it keeps its shape, the mixture is ready. Smash the dough together and then separate it into two dough balls. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours. When ready to use, allow to sit on the counter a few minutes to warm up before rolling into a pie crust.


Poke a few holes on the bottom and side of the crust and lay parchment paper on top. fill 1/2 way full with dry beans (can also use pie weights)


Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, take out the beans and parchment paper. Bake for an additional 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with egg white and water mixture. Bake for an additional 1 - 2 minutes to seal the crust.


Lemon Filling

Mix well in a sauce pan - cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Gradually add water and lemon juice, stir until mixture is smooth.

Beat egg yolks until they reach a thick consistency, blend a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and whisk quickly. Gradually stir into the lemon mixture. Add butter. Cook mixture on medium heat, stir constantly, until it becomes thick and bubbly. Continue to cook for 1 minute more, being sure to stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon rind. Pour into baked pie shell


Meringue

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup plus 2 T sugar (1 T at a time), beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread over hot filling. Using a large spatula, spread over the lemon mixture pressing it to the edges to seal the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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