Easy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie is my most favourite dessert – ever! In our family, birthdays are celebrated with pies instead of cakes. I'm not quite sure how this came about, but it seems each of us prefer pie to cake. I have two wonderful friends, Rhona and Cheryl, who both know how much I love Lemon Meringue Pie and they make sure, year after year, that I get one on my birthday – it is always perfect, light, lemony and de-lish-ous!
So, place the flour and butter in the food processor. If you choose to use vegetable oil, don't put the whole amount in at once – you may need less than 3/4 cup. Pulse the butter and flour for a couple seconds – you should have a crumbly mixture. Slowly add the orange juice and salt and process just until mixed. If you are doing this by hand, put the flour in a mixing bowl, cut in the butter (using two knives) until you get to the crumbly stage then add the salt and juice and form a dough.
Remove the dough from the machine (or bowl) and form a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Whisk the three egg yolks in a separate bowl. Now we have to "temper" the egg yolks. In order to add the yolks to the mixture without cooking them we have to get them "used" to the temperature of the sugar mixture. So you want to add one spoonful of sugar mixture to the egg yolks and mix and then another and then another until you get to 5 or 6 spoonfuls that are mixed in well. Now you can slowly add the eggs to the saucepan (don't dump them, add them bit by bit slowly) and heat once again while constantly stirring for one full minute. Remove from heat. You should have a smooth, lemony custard.
Stir in the butter, lemon zest and lemon juice to the sugar-yolk mixture.
Now remove the crust from the fridge and roll out on a lightly dusted surface large enough to fit your pie plate. A simple way to lift the crust from the surface is by gently folding the rolled out round in half lengthwise and then again in half and lifting it to your greased pie plate (use cooking spray – it's easier!). Place the point in the middle of the pie plate and unfold. Press into the plate. OR use any way that works for you better.
Bake the crust in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for 10-12 minutes.
In a clean, dry bowl, beat the three egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. It will work without cream of tartar but the meringue will be softer. Slowly add the sugar spoonful by spoonful into the egg whites while beating until soft peaks are formed.
Swirl the meringue over the top of the cooled filling mixture. Make sure that you seal the edges – meaning the meringue comes right up to the edge of the crust and no filling is showing at all. Using the back of a spoon, form peaks in the meringue by touching the soft meringue and pulling up with the spoon.
Put the pie back in the oven for about 10 minutes (watch it closely – it could be less and it could be more) until you see the meringue is golden brown.
Now you have a picture-perfect Lemon Meringue Pie - a light, lemony, oh-so-yummy dessert!
Let the pie cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
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