This is the pie that almost wasn’t. In January, I decided to tackle lemon meringue pie. After throwing two entire pies in the garbage in as many days, I was feeling utterly defeated. In fact, I remember thinking that I would never bake again. I took some much-needed time off from the project, unsure when (or if) pie III would transpire.
Your passions often teach you things about yourself; baking brings out my persistent tendencies (or is it my OCD tendencies?). Either way, I’m happy to present my Meyer lemon meringue pie. With a flaky all-butter crust, tangy and bright Meyer lemon filling, and silky Swiss meringue topping, this pie is a lemon lover’s dream (and is unreal with a side of Meyer lemon ice cream!).
A few tips: Whisk up the filling while blind baking the pie crust so that you can add the filling while the crust is still warm. I opted for a Swiss meringue topping for both stability and taste – it melts in your mouth, unlike the uncooked French meringue which can taste slightly metallic.
Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie
Buttermilk Pie Crust
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1-2 Tbsp vodka
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest (zest of 4 lemons)
2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Prepare dough: Grate 1/4 cup butter into a small bowl; cut remaining 1/4 cup butter into small cubes and place in a second bowl; chill bowls in freezer for 15 minutes. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; place bowl in freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Chill buttermilk and vodka in freezer for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle cubed butter over chilled flour mixture and toss with a spatula to coat. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until the biggest pieces are the size of peas; fold in grated butter. Drizzle buttermilk over flour mixture; use a spatula to gather dough together until it forms large clumps. If needed, add vodka 1 tablespoon at a time, then gently knead just to form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days, or place in a freezer bag and freeze 1 to 2 months).
Place dough on a floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out dough (roll dough in one direction, then lift up dough and rotate a quarter turn and roll, then repeat) until dough is a 12 to 13-inch circle. If dough starts to stick, use a bench scraper to lift dough from board. Transfer dough to a standard 9-inch pie dish; trim overhang to one inch and crimp edges. Cover and chill in the freezer for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F and prick bottom of chilled crust with a fork. Line with parchment paper and fill with dry uncooked beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly golden (prepare filling while crust bakes). Remove parchment and weights.
Prepare filling: Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, and salt until smooth. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and slowly pour filling over hot crust; return dish to oven and bake until filling is firm, about 22 minutes. Cool completely in dish on wire rack, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Prepare meringue: Combine egg whites and sugar in a clean and dry mixer bowl set over a double boiler of simmering water. Use a clean and dry spatula to stir mixture until sugar has completely dissolved and mixture reaches 160ºF (to pasteurize egg whites). Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer fitted with clean wire whip attachment. Whip on medium-high until doubled in volume and snowy white; the mixer bowl should be cool to the touch. Pipe or pile meringue over cooled pie, then toast carefully under a broiler or with a blow torch. To slice, dip a sharp knife in hot water and let excess drip off before cutting each slice.
Yield – 10 slices
Calories – 348 (per slice)
Carbs – 47