Diane Rossen Worthington’s delicious Lemon Meringue Pie is an incredible treasure. The light, flaky crust, lemony filling and cloud-like meringue make a perfect dessert.
- 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour plus flour for rolling
- pinch salt
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 Cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)
- 1 Tablespoon chilled shortening
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 Cup ice water
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks, beaten until smooth
- 2 Cups cold water
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 Cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
- finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 5 large egg whites (2/3 Cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Make the pastry: in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, salt and powdered sugar. Process for a few seconds to blend, then add the cold butter and shortening and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 5 to 10 seconds.
- With the motor running, gradually add the egg yolk and ice water and process just until the dough begins to come together and will hold a shape when pressed. Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface. Mold the dough into a flat, round disk about 1/2 inch high, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
- Have flour for rolling at hand. Remove dough from refrigerator, place on a lightly floured surface and lightly dust the top of the pastry with additional flour. With a lightly floured rolling pin, press down on dough a few times to flatten, then roll pastry to an 11-inch diameter, rolling from center of dough out towards the center, turning and lifting dough after every few strokes and adding additional flour as necessary. Fit dough gently into a 9 inch pie plate gently pressing dough down into the sides of the pan and trim off all but 1/2 inch of excess dough. Fold excess dough under, making a clean even rim and pinch the edges of the dough to crimp the crust. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate the shell for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove shell from refrigerator and prick bottom and sides using a fork. Line the pie shell with wax paper and fill it with, dry beans or uncooked rice. Bake the shell in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust looks dry and there is no shine, then remove the beans or rice and the paper and return to the oven, bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, leaving oven on, and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Prepare the filling: In a heavy- bottom, non-reactive medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk until smooth and lump free. Stir in cold water, a few drops at a time at first, then more quickly, never adding any more water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in yolks, mixing well to combine.
- Place saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, and using a wooden spoon stir constantly being very careful to stir into the corners of the pan. Replace wooden spoon with a whisk a few times and whisk lightly to help prevent any lumps from forming. When mixture reaches a boil (about 7-8 minutes), boil for 1 minute continuing to stir constantly. Do not boil longer.
- Remove from heat, place butter in pan and gradually stir in lemon juice, a few drops at a time at first, followed by lemon zest. Pour hot filling into baked and cooled pie pan. Start meringue immediately.
- For meringue: In a large mixing bowl perfectly clean and with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites for a few seconds just to break them up, then add cream of tartar and salt and continue to whip on medium speed until they look white and will just hold a soft peak, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and add sugar in a slow, steady stream, never adding a lot of sugar at once and scraping down bowl occasionally. Continue to beat until whites form a stiff peak when the beater is lifted straight up out of the mixing bowl about 2-3 minutes. Do not overbeat or the meringue will be grainy.
- Spoon about 1/4 of the meringue on top of the hot filling and spread into a medium layer, smoothing the meringue onto the side of the crust to help prevent shrinkage. Gently place the rest of the meringue in the center of the pie and shape the meringue into peaks using the back of a spoon. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating a few times to promote even browning. Watch carefully to be sure the meringue doesn't burn. Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator if it is not consumed immediately.
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