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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
See Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts: Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie. I obtain great results with this one. I haven't done it for a long time but I think she uses corn starch as a thickener.

Just let me know if you want me to post this recipe.

Meanwhile, here's another one from Martha Stewart. It's very lemony and quite easy to do.

Serves 10

Short Crust Dough (recipe follows)
3/4 cup crème fraîche
6 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
4 sheets or 1/4 ounce powdered gelatin, softened in water
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove short-crust dough from refrigerator. Remove parchment paper covering top, and invert onto a baking sheet. Press an 11-inch flan ring in center of short-crust dough to cut out a circle. Keeping flan ring on baking sheet, trim excess dough from outside of ring, and reserve for another use. Prick circle of dough several times with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove dough-lined flan ring from refrigerator. Bake until light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

3. Combine crème fraîche, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla bean, and sugar in a medium-size heat-proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove from heat, and stir in softened gelatin sheets. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium-size bowl. Cover surface of mixture with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Set mixture in an ice bath to cool to 100 degrees F.

5. Add butter, and using a handheld immersion blender, mix for 5 minutes. Pour into prebaked tart shell. Chill until mixture is firm, 2 to 3 hours.

6. Just before serving, sprinkle individual slices with a light, even layer of sugar. Caramelize the sugar to a golden brown, using a blowtorch or placing under a broiler.

P.S.: I make my own crème fraîche by adding two tablespoons of buttermilk or sour cream to two cups of heavy cream. Mix, and let sit at room temperature for six to eight hours. Cover, and refrigerate for at least twenty-four hours before serving.

and for a low-fat version, the ingredients are:

1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup heavy sweet cream

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, and salt on medium-low speed to combine. Add butter, and continue mixing until coarse crumbs form. Add egg yolk; mix just until dough comes together. Roll dough out, about 1/8 inch thick, between two layers of parchment paper. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Both recipes will make you :) !!


[ May 03, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]

2,116 Posts
My best advice:
Pre bake the crusts
Use a curd style filling set with eggs and enriched with butter.
For the meringue 1 c egg whites (fresh not frozen) 2 c granulated sugar,1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cream of tartar, heat over double boiler until 120 degrees and sugar has melted, whip 'till stiff and cool
pour cool filling into pre baked shell, top with meringue and "toast" with tourch or broiler. should hold up in cooler two days.
mmmmmmmm good eating.

415 Posts
I had to test a couple of recipes and techniques before I finally arrived at the lemon meringue tart I wanted.
1. pre-bake your crusts.
2. You can either use a lemon curd-style filling fortified with gelatin or the standard lemon cream filling using cornstarch, for keeping up nice slices.
3. Fill the pie/tart shells with HOT filling, so when you top with meringue it won't slide around. A better and fail-safe option is to top the filling with a very thin layer of sponge cake that will adhere to both the filling and the meringue, and the meringue never slides off (plus it absorbs the moisture if your meringue weeps and provides a nice texture too.)
4. Once your meringue is on the pie, bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes until set and golden brown. Try not too overbake or your meringue will shrink when cool.

Good luck!

3,236 Posts
In Cookwise, Shirley O. Corriher gives the following advice on lemon pie:

Rolland Mesnier the White House pastry chef, sprinkle some fine cake crumbs over the hot filling just before he spoons on the meringue. If there is any leakage, the crumbs absorb it. I tried this. When I peeked under the meringue on my slice of pie, I could not see a single crumb and there was a fine dry interface between the meringue and the pie.

I include some cornstarch in all my soft meringue. Starch performs the same magic on meringues as it does on custards. It prevents egg whites form over coagulating just as it prevent eggs from curdling. Meringues with their high sugar content keep all the water tied up, so it is necessary to dissolve the cornstarch in water and heat it before beating it into the meringue, This lets the starch absorb water and swell before it goes into the meringue where no water is available to it. Meringues with starch are tender, cut beautifully, and do not shrink as much or overcook as easily as meringues without. They are picture perfect.

Note: she adds a bit of lemon zest to her meringue and the crust.

What this recipe shows:

Thickening the starch mixture before the lemon juice is added prevents acids from interfering with starch’s swelling and thickening.

Reheating the filling after the eggs are added kills alpha amylase, the enzyme in yolks that can thin starch custard. Eggs will not curdle during this reheating because of the presence of the starch.

Egg yolks provide emulsifiers for a sensuously smooth filling.

Lemon Filling

1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons bleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups water
2 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons fine cake crumbs

Prepare the filling by stirring together the cornstarch, flour, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir in the water and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from the heat. Wisk in the egg yolks together in a medium bowl and stir in several tablespoons of hot filling to warm the mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the hot filling and return to the saucepan to the heat. Bring back to a boil and cook for three or four minutes, stirring constantly, to kill rnzymes in the yolks that can thin the pie. Remove from the heat and stir in salt, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.

Pour the filling into the prebaked crust. While the filling is piping hot, sprinkle with fine cake crumbs and cover with some meringue. Take care to spread the meringue so that it touches the crust all the way around. After you have covered the hot filling well, pile on the rest of the meringue and make decorative swirl with the back of the spoon. Bake until the meringue begins to brown lightly, about 30 minutes at 325°F. Refrigerate uncovered for several hours before serving.

Safe Meringue

6 large egg whites
2trablspoons water
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup cool water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

What this recipe shows:

Diluting egg whites with water and adding sugar will enable careful heating of the whites to 160°F, the instant kill temperature for salmonella.

Swollen starch added to the beaten whites produces a tender, smooth-cutting meringue that does not shrink or bead easily.

Meringue made with egg whites heated in this manner is an excellent stable meringue.

Stir the whites, water, cream of tartar and sugar together well to break up the whites (try not to create foam since it cooks at a lower temperature) in a medium-size stainless steel bowl. Heat one inch of water to a simmer in a medium skillet and turn the heat off. Run a cup of hot tap water, place an instant read thermometer in it and place it near the skillet. Place the metal bowl of egg whites mixture in the skillet of hot water and scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent the whites from over heating. After one minute of constant scrapping and stirring, remove the bowl of egg whites from the hot water and place the thermometer in the whites, tilting the bowl so that you have about 2 inches of white covering the thermometer. If the temperature is up to 160°F, beat until peaks forms when the beater is lifted. If necessary place the bowl of whites back in the hot water and scrape constantly in 15 second increment until the temperature reaches 160°F. Rinse the thermometer in the hot water in the skillet (to kill salmonella) and replace it in the cup of hot water after each use.

Sprinkle the cornstarch into a small saucepan, add the cool water, and let stand 1 minute. Then stir well. Bring the water and cornstarch to a boil, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick and slightly cloudy. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then whisk 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch mixture into the meringue and continue adding and beating in until all is incorporated. Whisk in the salt, vanilla and any other desired flavouring such as lemon zest. Set aside while preparing the pie filling.

P.S. I never tried this recipe since I am not fond of lemon pie.

415 Posts
Yeah, Cookwise is an excellent book. I haven't tried the recipes but rely on her scientific explanations when things go wrong.
I forgot to mention, to slice the well-chilled pie ---dip a knife in very hot water, wipe dry or shake off excess water and then proceed to cut the pie. Clean slices everytime. :)
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