Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Lemon Meringue Pie

by Shanna Hatfield

Once in a while, particularly this time of year, I'm overcome with the urge to make a lemon meringue pie. 
The burst of flavor, the fusion of sweet and tart, in this homemade pudding version is positively wonderful. Then there is the euphoric state created by zesting the lemons. The scent is beyond divine and delightful. In fact, it's a possibility Captain Cavedweller may come home one day to find me still melted in a puddle across the kitchen floor after zesting lemons.
Yes,  the scent really is that fantabulous.
And it makes me think of our ancestors as they shook of the last bit of winter and welcomed spring. Do you suppose they also enjoyed a slice of lemon meringue pie?

Here are the ingredients for the pudding. You will also need cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of sugar for the meringue as well as a pre-baked pie crust for the pie.

Start by zesting your lemons. Rinse them off well then whip out your microplane and go to town. You need 2 tablespoons of zest. By that time, the amazing scent will have weakened your knees and made you a bit giddy.

Go ahead and juice those lemons. I used three and it came out to be right at a 1/2 cup of juice. Run the juice through a strainer before using to get out all the pulp and seeds. Squeezing them by hand is great therapy!

Next, whip up the meringue. You need 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar for every egg white. I used three egg whites so I needed 3/8 tsp. of cream of tartar.

Beat until soft peaks form then add in your sugar. I added 1/2 cup to the three egg whites.

Continue beating until stiff peaks form and the meringue gets all lovely and glossy. It is beauteous!

Now we start on the pudding. Mix the cornstarch and sugar together then whisk in the milk.

Add beaten egg yolks and mix well, then add lemon zest and salt.

Place over medium heat and cook, stirring until your arm feels like it might fall off, er... I mean until the sauce is thick.

Add lemon juice and butter, stirring well, then pour into prepared pie shell.

Immediately top with meringue. You want the pudding hot to help cook the inside of the meringue.

Place in pre-heated oven and brown for about five minutes.

Lemon Meringue Pie
1 pre-baked pie crust, cooled

3 egg whites
3/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
To start with, make sure your bowl is completely grease-free. Any oily residue will ruin your meringue. Go for a glass bowl if it all possible. You need 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar for each egg white. Sprinkle on top of egg whites and beat with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff peaks forms and the meringue is glossy and lovely.
You will want to whip up the meringue before you start cooking the pudding.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
3 large yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, softened
NOTE: Three fresh lemons gave me plenty of zest and came out, when squeezed by hand, to be right at 1/2 cup of juice. Do yourself a favor and squeeze your own juice. The flavor is amazing! Also, separate your egg whites from the yolks and put the whites into a large mixing bowl. You’ll use them for the meringue.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Whisk to combine. Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Add egg yolks.
Stir in lemon zest and salt.
Place saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick.
Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. If you don’t want the zested lemon in your pudding you can run it through a fine mesh strainer at this point. If you are like me and don’t care, pour the pudding into the prepared pie crust. You can make your own crust – I highly recommend this vodka pie crustrecipe – or use a store-bought crust. Whatever floats your boat. Mine floated with the vodka recipe.
While the pudding is still piping hot, spoon on the meringue and bake in oven for about 5 minutes or until top is lightly browned. 
Let cool completely before serving. Then enjoy!
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, USA Today best-selling author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with relatable characters.
When this hopeless romantic isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

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Julie Lence said...

Hi Shanna: When I was a little girl, my grandmother made this. I don't have her recipe or know exactly what she did, but it was tasty. After reading this, I'm thinking it's too much work and you should come to my house and bake one. LOL! Enjoy your day.

Stephanie said...

Shanna, this looks amazing. My mom used to make this all the time. I don't know if I have it in me to make one so I agree with Julie. I think you should make the rounds of all our houses and leave a gift of lemon meringue. :)

Shanna Hatfield said...

Looks like a road trip with pie pans and my zester! I just love the lemony-fragrance that fills the house when I make this. If I lived closer, I'd definitely make a pie for you, Julie and Stephanie!

Julie Lence said...

Hear that, Stephanie? Shanna's coming for a visit, lol!! On a serious note, I would bake more except I'm the only one who eats it. Hubbs and kiddo aren't much for sweets. When kiddo was little he liked cake and cup cakes. Not so much anymore, and I definitely don't need to eat a whole cake. When I was in NY, my niece introduced me to cake cup--it's individual size cake mi pouches that you make in a coffee cup and zap in the microwave. For a quick treat they're not bad, and perfect for me. Enjoy your day, ladies!