Sunday, March 31, 2013

Magic Lemon Meringue Pie

If you've figured anything out about me, I don't bake. My mother doesn't bake, my sister doesn't bake, and I don't bake. So now that I'm a big, bad holiday hostess, this poses a bit of a problem. My sister and I decided that maybe we should try our hand at baking this year, and so we dared to go the meringue route. 

This is a true Easter dessert, was one of Nanny McPhee's favorites, and so I wanted to bring it into my Easter tradition. The pie itself didn't scare me (until we started making it), it was the meringue that was giving me anxiety... but somehow I made it happen. 

Of course, I got it on the second try - I have this problem that I don't always read a recipe and so I dumped the eggs, cream of tartar AND sugar all into the bowl and mixed feverishly, to no avail. It never peaked. Read the directions and realized, the sugar comes second. Eureeka! It worked. We had peaks. And we had a delicious little meringue. (dancing around the kitchen not necessary, but highly recommended). 

The Recipe

Original recipe courtesy of: Trisha Yearwood

For the filling...
   One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
   1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (appx 2 large lemons)
   1 tsp lemon zest
   3 large egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue)

For the meringue...
   3 large egg whites (reserved from filling)
   1/4 tsp cream of tartar
   1/4 cup sugar

Make your own crust, use a pre-made 9" graham cracker pie crust, or 6 adorable individual mini graham cracker crusts (like I did)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and place metal bowl and beaters in freezer to chill (tips I got from my mother and from Stan)
  2. Make the filling: in a medium bowl, mix the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolks. Pour mixture into crust, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the filling is just set (it can still be wobbly in the center when shaken) - Chill for 2+ hours
  3. Make the meringue: beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer in chilled metal bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff. Transfer meringue into a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off, and pipe onto pies. Set broiler to medium-high, and brown tops of meringue. 

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