This puckery old fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie is made in a fluted tart pan, with a removable bottom, for easy serving. Topped with billowy swirls of Italian Meringue, this classic pie never goes out of style.
To prevent the custard from seeping through the pastry, I dust the unbaked pastry with sugar before baking to form a light seal.
For the most stable meringue, I opt for an Italian Meringue—a process that involves cooking the sugar (to 240°F) before adding it to the egg whites. You’ll need a candy thermometer but it's worth the price for a beautiful sturdy meringue.
Makes 1 Pie
■ 6 large egg yolks (reserve whites for the meringue)
■ 1 1/2 cups cold water
■ 1/4 cup cornstarch
■ 1 cup sugar
■ pinch salt
■ 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
■ 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
■ 1 recipe Flaky Pastry Dough (you’ll only need half the dough)
■ 1 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
■ 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
■ 6 egg whites
■ 1 1/4 cup sugar
■ 1/4 cup corn syrup
■ 1/2 cup water
Prepare the pastry according to the instructions. Remove the dough from the fridge and set aside until the pastry has softened a bit. If your finger pressed into the dough makes an imprint, you’re ready to roll.
Transfer half the chilled dough to a sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and roll the dough (over the plastic wrap) about ⅛” thick, rolling from the centre toward the pastry’s edge in all directions.
Using your tart pan as a guide, cut the dough about an inch wider than the pan. Line the tart pan with the pastry and trim the edges. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 40 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap, and using a fork, poke holes into the pastry. (This will prevent the pastry from buckling during baking.) Cover the pastry with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights (beans or rice work, too) to the top of the pan’s edge. Firm in the fridge or freezer about 15 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 425°F oven 12 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F. Carefully remove the tart pan from the oven and remove the foil (or parchment) and the pie weights. Sprinkle the pastry base with 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar and return the pastry to the oven and continue to bake until the pastry is completely cooked through and lightly browned.
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, whisk lightly, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cold water, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour about half the sugar mixture into the bowl of egg yolks. Mix well. Pour all the yolk mixture into the saucepan (of remaining sugar) and mix well. Add the lemon juice and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly for one full minute. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
Allow to cool a few minutes, then pour the still-warm custard into the baked tart shell.
Before you get started, place a cup of water and a silicone pastry brush near your stovetop. Clip a candy thermometer onto a small saucepan.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a meticulously clean bowl of a standup mixer, and whisk at medium speed for about one minute or just until a small network of tiny bubbles have formed. The egg whites will not increase greatly in volume, at this stage. (They will be further whipped a bit later, when the hot sugar is added.)
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 240°F. To prevent the sugar from crystallizing, dip a silicone pastry brush into water and brush down any sugar that sputters to the sides of the pan.
Once the sugar reaches the correct temperature, carefully and without delay, pour it into the egg whites, in a slow steady stream—while turning the mixer to high speed. Continue to whip until the whites have expanded and formed billowy, firm glossy peaks.
Spoon the meringue over the still-warm custard, in great globs, creating peaks with the back of your spoon. Be sure the meringue is spread-out to the crust, otherwise the meringue can slide off the custard.
Best enjoyed the day it's made.