Pie, Oh My! I love pie. 'Tis the season for citrus. Everyone loves a good lemon meringue pie. My mother-in-law makes hands down the best lemon meringue pie. She uses her own home grown lemons and turns them into the perfect custard. Her meringue topping is the Mount Everest of meringues. This pie is a slight detour from the familiar lemon meringue classic. I made a couple mistakes (fortunately none were fatal): 1. Made a pie pastry dough instead of the tart pastry like the recipe called for. 2. Didn't use the right amount of ingredients to make the already wrong dough so it came out not so deliciously flaky but still edible). Lesson learned: Read and re-read instructions before starting. This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma: Desserts (and I've listed everything the way it's supposed to be, not with my inadvertent modifications).
Tart Pasty for a 9-inch tart shell
- 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 1 T sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 T cold water
- 1/3 c sugar
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c fresh orange juice (zest the oranges before you juice them)
- 5 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 T freshly grated orange zest
- 5 egg whites (make sure there's no yolk or they won't whip properly)
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Pie Crust: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Make your pastry dough. Set up your food processor. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the work bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and drop them into the bowl. Process, using rapid on-off pulses, until the mixture resembles small particles about the size of oatmeal flakes. Add 1T of the water and process for a couple of seconds more. Add the remaining 1T water and process with 4 on-off pulses. Feel the dough, it should be damp enough to form a rough mass but not wet. Turn out the dough onto a work surface, gather it together, roll it out to line a 9-inch pie pan. Bake the crust until browned and crisp, 10-15 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
Pie Filling: In a heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the orange juice and mix well. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, add the egg yolks all at once, and whisk until blended. Return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the butter and orange zest. Spread the orange juice mixture in the cooled pie shell.
Meringue: Preheat the oven to broil. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on high until well mixed. Sprinkle on cream of tartar and continue beating until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form. This whole process should take about 4 minutes. Gently spread it over the pie filling, completely covering the filling to the edges of the crust. Broil 4 minutes from the heat until peaks are brown, usually about 1-2 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool before serving (I let mine sit overnight in the refrigerator after letting it cool at room temperature).