Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Pi Day everyone! I have to admit that Pi Day is one of my favorite food related holidays, I mean, what could possibly be better than a holiday that appeals to both the geek and the baker in me? This year I knew early on that I wanted to pull out an old favorite of mine, I recently discovered that it had been four whole years since I've made a Lemon Meringue Pie; that's an atrocity if you ask me. So before I cracked out the pie baking tools I decided to go on a pie tasting field test, all the way over to Hubbard Avenue Diner, in Middleton, WI where I'm pretty sure I died and went to heaven the second I walked in the door. Here is the reason why. After an excellent meal with my family and a slice of their Lemon Meringue Pie I left determined to improve upon my recipe so I could share it with you. This is the perfect pie to remind us that spring is almost here, hopefully you can give it a try some time soon.

Lemon Meringue Pie
makes a 10 inch pie

Ingredients

For the pie crust

1½ Cup all-purpose flour
½ Cup vegetable shortening
1 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 - 5 Tablespoons cold water 

For the lemon filling

½ stick butter, melted and cooled
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk

For the meringue

3 egg whites
6 Tablespoons sugar 
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Directions

For the pie crust

  • In a large mixing bowl combine all-purpose flour, vegetable shortening, sugar, and salt. Mix using a food processor or pastry cutter until dough is crumbly.
  • Add water one Tablespoon at a time until dough is able to form a ball, usually 4 - 5 Tablespoons.
  • Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before baking.

For the lemon filling

  • Melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds on high and let cool.

Do not add other ingredients before the butter has cooled back to room temperature or you will end up with lumpy filling

  • In a bowl combine cooled butter, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, salt, egg yolks, and buttermilk mix on low until smooth.

For the meringue

  • In a mixing bowl add egg whites and beat until they start to foam. Gradually add sugar, salt, and baking powder and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.

To assemble and bake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Remove dough from refrigerator, place on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet. If the dough is crumbly and not forming a uniform ball, sprinkle lightly with water until dough holds together, taking care not to over water it.
  • Roll dough out from the center outward until it reaches a uniform ¼ inch thickness, then transfer to pie plate. Press the crust to fit, then trim the edges as necessary.
  • Place dough in the refrigerator to chill another 30 minutes before baking.
  • Weigh down crust with beans or rice then pre-bake pie crust for 20 minutes.
  • Let pie crust cool on a wire rack before continuing and assemble the lemon filling while waiting.
  • Pour lemon filling on to the cooled pie crust and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the filling sets.
  • Let pie cool for at least 30 minutes before topping with meringue and bake for 10 minutes on the top rack, or until meringue browns.
  • Chill for 30 - 45 minutes, uncovered, then serve. Enjoy!

Lemon meringue pie does not keep well in the refrigerator for long periods of time.

Recipe Inspiration

This recipe was heavily adapted from four separate recipes published in the St. Louis Memorial Boulevard Christian Church Cookbook: Our Favorite Recipes, a collection by the Topnotcher Class. The meringue and pie crust recipes are adapted from my Grandma Shirley's recipes which were handed down to me by my mother. The lemon filling is inspired by a combination of the Lemon Pie recipe attributed to Marguerite McDowell and the Buttermilk Pie (Mock Lemon) recipe attributed to Mary Wing.