kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

Just before I went to Texas a few years ago, I purchased one of the Pastry Queen cookbooks.  Prior to purchasing the book, I knew nothing about the author.  The impulse purchase was made solely because I was utterly intrigued by the meringue picture on the cover.  Ever since I can remember, I have loved lemon meringue pie.  Perhaps it was because I grew up in a household which did not make regular trips to the bakery. . .perhaps because Kikukat mom was not into pie baking. . .perhaps I had been a naughty girl. . .for whatever reason, we NEVER bought lemon meringue pie.  On  occasion, my uncle, who was a frequent bakery patron, would bring over a lemon meringue pie (probably when the bakery was out of prune cake, his favorite).  I remember exercising restraint when all wanted to do was to stick a fork into the meringue and eat a big glob of it.

When I moved into my home, Kikukat mom bought me a Meyer lemon tree.  It was the first tree we planted.  When the men came over to dig the swimming pool, I made sure they did not touch the lemon tree with the heavy equipment.  Thankfully the lemon tree flourished and over the years, it has given me a nearly constant supply of big, juicy lemons.

Being a lemon meringue pie fanatic, you can bet it was close to the top of my list of recipes to make with my lemons.  I've tried several recipes, and I've discovered I prefer a slightly sweet filling (as opposed to tangy).  Another ingredient amount which varied among the recipes I tried was the cornstarch.  I don't like a soft runny filling; I like the filling to be able to stand when cut.

Of course, the most important part of a lemon meringue pie is the meringue.  I like a generous ratio of meringue to filling.  In my experimentation, a 4-white meringue makes a nice topping.  The 3-white versions, while covering the filling, didn't seem high enough for me.  Some recipes called for more whites than yolks, but if you know me, you know the extra yolks sitting in my fridge would likely get thrown away before they get used.  When I first started making this pie, I would use a spatula and spoon to spread and smooth the meringue over the hot filling (the left side of the above photo).  After the Pastry Queen cookbook purchase, I began piping the meringue from an icing bag fitted with a large star tip.  I love the way the meringue looks (the right side of the above photo).  I guess it depends on the effect you are after.  If you are like me and love the slightly burnt tips, then use a piping bag.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a solution to keep the meringue from weeping (caramel colored drops on the surface of the meringue).

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     9" baked pie crust

Filling:  7 tbsp cornstarch
              1 3/4 c sugar
              1/4 tsp salt
              1/2 c lemon juice
              2 1/2 c water
              4 egg yolks. beaten
              3 tbsp butter
              grated rind of 1 lemon

Meringue:  4 egg whites
                   1/4 tsp cream of tartar
                   1/2 c sugar
                   1 tsp vanilla    

Combine all filling ingredients, except lemon rind, in the top of a double boiler.  Heat over high, stirring constantly.  When mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), continue cooking 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add lemon rind.  Keep warm.  Using a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy.  Add cream of tartar.  Gradually add sugar.  Add vanilla.  Continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Place filling back on heat source and heat briefly, stirring a few times.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place meringue in icing bag.  Pour hot filling into pie crust.  Immediately cover surface of hot filling with meringue, being careful to pull meringue to edges.  Either mound or decoratively pipe remaining meringue onto pie.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Meringue should be golden brown.  Let cool before serving.


  1. Could you please post the crystal coffee cake recipe?

    1. In your blog about your pineapple upside down cske you mentioned how much your Uncle liked your crystal coffee cake. I was interested in the recipe.

  2. The blog that you mention the crystal coffee cake was dated June 27, 2011.

    1. I need to make the Crystal Coffee Cake again because since the last time I made it, Duncan Hines changed the size of the cake mix, so I'm not sure of the adjustments yet. The cake part has some instant coffee mixed in, and I have seen recipes in various cookbooks for such a cake, although I'm sure its based on the size of the old (larger) cake mix. Once I get the recipe right (for the smaller cake mix), I will post it, but until then, here is the recipe for the icing (9 x 13" pan). Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog!
      5 tbsp flour

      1 tbsp instant coffee crystals

      1 c milk

      1/2 c butter

      1 c sugar

      1 tsp vanilla

      In a medium saucepan, combine flour, instant coffee crystals and milk. Add butter, sugar, and anilla to flour mixture and cook until thick, stirring often. Cool completely before icing cake.

    2. Thank you! I'm looking forward to the cake recipe