Easter is here and Spring has Sprung! Please allow me to wish you all a very Happy Easter, and in spite of the difficult season we have had, it is my hope is that you are still finding joy in the little things.
Baking desserts is one of those simple pleasures that conjure up joy and memories for most of us and here is one dessert that I definitely associate with my grandmother – her wonderful Lemon Meringue Pie.
Lemon Meringue is also my dad’s favorite dessert and I can remember his beaming wide smile when it was presented at the dinner table. It was one of those special desserts we made for special occasions as it really takes time to prepare, and it’s not something you simply whip up in a flash. Bright tangy lemon curd makes me think of the springtime when we are saying goodbye to the dreary weather and join with the daffodils to trumpet in the light and warmth once more. But really, there is no bad time of the year to bake a Lemon Meringue because it is notoriously everyone’s secret favorite slice of delight. May I suggest you serve it with lashings of whipped cream, just the way I remember it at my Nana’s house.
Here is my family recipe:
- (for the crust) baked pie crust (homemade or store bought pie dough)
- (for the Lemon Curd Filling)
- 1 ½ cups (12oz) water
- Zest of 3 lemons (2 tsp very finely grated)
- 6 oz fine granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch
- ¾ cups of lemon juice
- 2 oz butter (room temperature)
- 5 egg yolks (beaten)
- (for the Meringue)
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup (150 grams) fine granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
How to make it
- To make the lemon curd measure the water, and then use a few tablespoons to blend the cornstarch and set aside. In a medium saucepan add the water, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a medium size saucepan. Whisk in the blended cornstarch and water, and then stir for a few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Remove the lemon mixture from the heat and whisk in the butter, a little bit at a time.
- Wait a few minutes to let the lemon mixture cool, and then whisk in the beaten egg yolks slowly. When the eggs are fully incorporated, return the lemon curd to a low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to a pudding like consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or the curd will not set correctly).
- Pour the curd directly on to the crust, and cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the curd and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to cool completely.
- To make the meringue preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until stiff peaks appear. Slowly add the sugar 1 tsp at a time until the meringue is very stiff (you should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the meringue will stay in place).
- The meringue can be piped on using a bag or spooned on directly to the lemon curd.
- Bake the pie in the lowest rack in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the meringue sets.
- Allow the baked lemon meringue to rest at room temperature for an hour, and then for another 4 hours in the refrigerator (or rest overnight) to chill before slicing and serving.
Happy Easter everyone… Enjoy!
Shamrock and Peach (Judith)