Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pucker Up!

I remember standing on a chair in Grandma's kitchen helping her make all sorts of baked goodies.  Her old black and white Sunbeam mixer with the glass bowl whirled away as yummy, sweet goodness mixed to perfection.

One of my favorite things to make with Grandma was pie - partly because I got to make my own creations with the leftover pie crust dough and partly because I could watch those egg whites turn - like magic - from slimy, clear liquid to a white, shiny, fluffy cloud that would top her tangy, sweet lemon pie.

My backyard lemon tree is bursting with yellow meyer lemon deliciousness right now so I decided it was time to break out Grandma's lemon pie recipe and make dessert.

Grandma has been gone for a few years now, but her lemon pie recipe (probably mostly gleamed from the back of the yellow cornstarch box) lives on.  Her recipe never fails to turn out delicious - and it's pretty easy which is probably why it's still in the family recipe book.

Grandma's Lemon Meringue Pie

1 9-inch Baked Single Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups Sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Cold Water
1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water
1 Heaping Tablespoon grated Lemon Zest
4 Large Egg Yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Butter


1/2 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
4 Egg Whites

Pre-Heat Oven to 325

To Prepare Filling:
In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt together with a whisk.  Whisk in the cold water, lemon peel and lemon juice making sure everything is well mixed.  Whisk in the egg yolks.  Add the butter and slowly (very slowly at first) whisk in the boiling water.

Once everything is mixed (butter may not be completely melted yet but that's okay), cook the mixture over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture boils (about 6 minutes).  Reduce heat to medium, while continuing to stir the filling and cook for one minute more.

Pour the hot filling into your pre-baked pie crust.

To Prepared Meringue:
In a clean, cold mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites and the cream of tartar (Use a whisk attachment if you have one) begin sort of slow until the cream of tartar is incorporated - then beat at high speed until your egg whites are foamy and no liquid-y stuff is left in the bottom of the bowl.

Mix together the cornstarch and sugar.

Keep beating your egg whites while slowly adding the sugar/cornstarch mixture a spoonful or so at a time.  Beat until your egg whites are smooth, glossy and have stiff peaks that pretty much stand up when you pull the beater out of them.

Top your hot filling with the meringue and, using a spatula, spread it around so that it touches the crust all the way around your pie.  Then make it pretty by adding some nice swirls and/or peaks in the meringue.


Bake until meringue is browned, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack to cool completely (at least 3 hours) before serving.

I cannot tell you how yummy this pie is....  The filling is set, almost creamy in texture, tart - yet sweet.  The meringue is light and as fluffy as a cloud with a little sweetness - and the best part... the combination of the granulated sugar and cornstarch in the meringue give it an ever-so-slight crispness that "just" crunches as you begin to bite and then melts into fluffy heaven... oh, my, yum!!!

This would also be great with a graham cracker crust or a sugar cookie crust - although the pie would be extra sweet.

So pucker up and give a lemon pie a try today - it will be easy and you CAN do it - I promise!

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