I really do enjoy baking, but I am much more comfortable on the savory side in the culinary world. I have my go-to desserts that I like to make when we entertain… dishes like fruit crisps, cookies and cakes, but this time it wasn’t up to me.
It was Father’s Day a few weeks ago, so I asked my husband, Mike, what he wanted for dessert, and he chose one of the yummiest desserts I can think of, but the scariest one to make! Yup… that would be Lemon Meringue Pie. It’s not the filling that I find intimidating, it’s the meringue. For some reason a blanket of anxiety comes over me whenever I need to whip up a meringue, which is fortunately only once in a blue moon. Lucky for me I have thousands of recipes at my fingertips, and in The Chopping Block's database I found a great recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.
To make the process a little bit easier, I decided to buy a premade graham cracker crust. Hey, little shortcuts here and there help keep me sane! You can also buy individual graham cracker crusts. So cute!
So, my 10-year-old daughter, Delilah, and I got to work on the filling. The first job we needed to accomplish was to separate the eggs. I had the feeling there might be some yolk blobs trying to sneak their way in with the whites (which will inhibit the whipping of the whites and end up sabotaging you), so I set up an egg separating station. She cracked one at a time over a small bowl, allowed the white to collect into the bowl, and then dropped the yolks into another bowl. We inspected each white to ensure it was free from yolk, and if it was good to go, we poured in into the bowl of my stand mixer. We did this with every egg to set us up for success.
We whisked together water, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a saucepan, and set it over medium heat. We whisked and whisked some more until the cornstarch activated, and the mixture quickly became very thick. Then we whisked a small amount of the thickened mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. Tempering is when you slowly introduce a small amount of your hot mixture to the eggs, safely raising their temperature without scrambling them. Then all of the egg mixture went back into the saucepan.
We then whisked in butter until it was melted and the whole think looked smooth and glossy.
We poured the filling into the premade crust, covered it with plastic wrap so it wouldn’t develop a skin, and set it in the fridge to chill. So far so good!
On to the meringue. I definitely had some anxiety with this step, so I took it slow and steady. I added some cream of tartar to the whites, which helps stabilize them. Using my whip attachment, I whipped the whites until they were foamy. Delilah then started added the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. We continued to whip the whites until they were stiff and glossy. You know what? It was a piece of cake… um, I mean pie! I don’t know why I was fretting over the meringue.
Once the filling was totally chilled, we spread the meringue over the pie in a whimsical kind of way. We placed the pie in a 400° oven, and baked it until the meringue was golden brown, about 8 minutes.
It really wasn’t that hard to make, and it’s something that I would totally do again. It's the perfect summer dessert!
Now I am proud to say that making lemon meringue pie is part of my recipe repertoire. Here's The Chopping Block's recipe so you can make it a part of yours!