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NOT GOOD: Lemon Meringue Pie

December 2, 2013
my pie looked good, but not this good (photo from foodnetwork.com)

my pie looked good, but not this good (photo from foodnetwork.com)

One of my husband’s favorite desserts is lemon meringue pie, so this Thanksgiving I set out to make one. I immediately jinxed myself by remarking that the recipe didn’t seem too complicated, and in true form, ruined the pie completely. Now I’m going on a quest to find an error-proof lemon meringue pie to redeem myself, but for now, here’s all the ways I messed up Alton’s Brown recipe:

Lemon Filling:

  • 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (USED JARRED LEMON JUICE)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell (THOUGHT PIE SHELL WAS PRE-BAKED. WAS NOT.)
  • 1 recipe Meringue, recipe follows

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine.  Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.  (NOT SURE WHAT I DID WRONG HERE, BUT EVENTUAL PIE WAS TOO SOUR AND FILLING WAS NOT THICK ENOUGH. IF I HAD TO GUESS, SHOULD HAVE USED JUICE FROM ACTUAL LEMON AND MORE CORNSTARCH.)

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell (AGAIN, THOUGHT SHELL WAS PRE-BAKED. WAS NOT. PUT FILLING INTO RAW SHELL.) and top with meringue while filling is still hot.  Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. ( MOTHER SABOTAGED PIE. SHUT OVEN OFF JUST AS I PUT PIE IN.) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Meringue Topping:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling. (MERINGUE WAS REALLY EASY TO MAKE! BUT, DID NOT MATTER AS ONCE PIE COOLED THE UNBAKED CRUST MADE IT COMPLETELY DISGUSTING.)

Don’t worry Dave, I’ll get this right eventually. I’ll start by baking the crust.

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