Lemon Meringue Pie
The classic lemon meringue pie stays a popular treat world-wide. North Americans in particular enjoy it as a tradition.
The pie as we know it today - because there were other versions before - is a 19th century creation. With the earliest recipe by chef Alexandre Frehse from the french speaking part of Switzerland.
- 250 g all purpose flour
- 80 g powdered sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp milk
- Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1 bean
- Pinch of salt
- Juice and zest of 6 lemons
- 6 large eggs
- 250 g cane sugar
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 6 egg whites
- 280 g powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine flour with sugar, add cold butter in small pieces. Crush butter into flour-sugar mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- When mixture has a crumbly texture, add vanilla, salt, milk and yolks.
- Briefly mix with spatula and continue blending with fingers (not with hand palm).
- The blending shouldn't take too long, just until the dough is homogeneous. This is done to maintain the dough cold and avoid gluten formation.
- Make a ball and wrap it in cling film. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Roll the dough in different directions to a thickness of 3 to 5 mm. Wrap it around the rolling pin and unfold the dough layer over the pie pan.
- Press in the corners while lifting up the edge of the doug. If it's a flared baking pan gently press dough against the pan wall to take flared shape.
- Using the rolling pin, go over the edges of the pan to cut the excess dough.
- Make sure the dough layer is well flattened against the pan bottom and wall. Poke a few holes on the bottom using a fork.
- Lay in a sheet of baking paper and spread the baking beans over it. Be careful not to squash the dough on the pan walls while layering the baking paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 170°C, remove baking paper with beans and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Peel the lemons with a thin peeler. Avoid the white of the skin as much as possible to avoid a bitter after taste. Cut the peel into small pieces.
- Juice the lemons, pour it in a pan with the sugar and cut lemon zest. Bring to boil and turn of the stove. Let it infuse 10 minutes, stir to dissolve sugar.
- Set up a bain-marie, the water should NOT boil, but close to it!
- Beat the eggs. Pour the lemon juice and beaten eggs in the bain-marie.
- Stir every now and then. The curd is done when it has the consistency of a heavy cream with a shiny surface. Do not overcook as it may develope lumps. Stir with a whisk to help avoid these.
- Take bowl with curd out of the bain-marie. Put it in cold water and stir the curd while cooling. When it reaches a temperature of 55°C, throw in the cut butter. Stir until it's completely dissolved. Butter must be at room temperature.
- Pour lemon curd in shortcrust base, even it out. Bake for 15 minutes at 130°C.
- Leave to cool in the pie pan. Then refrigerate until cold.
- Sift the icing sugar.
- Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat at highest spead until very firm.
- Add sugar gradually while beating. Also add vanilla extract.
- Continue beating until all sugar is dissolved. The meringue is done when it's shiny.
- Fill a piping bag with wide nozzle with the meringue and top lemon pie with it. Decorate to your liking. I covered the lemon curd with small lumps of meringue. Some people don't use a piping bag at all. A silicone spatula does the job too.
- To finish off the lemon meringue pie, carefully burn the meringue with a pastry torch.
Tools used: Hand mixer, piping bag, pastry torch, pie pan, rolling pin, whisk, baking beans, silicone spatula, wooden spoon, sieve.
Lemon Meringue Pie