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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

By Tabitha Alterman

Tags: Lemons, Recipes, Desserts, Eggs, Pie,

In our June/July issue, we shared the secrets of how to make meringue. Once you've mastered this delightful culinary pursuit, you'll need a fabulous recipe to help you show off your newfound skills. This classic recipe concludes the compilation of 100 wonderful egg recipes in Jennifer Trainer Thompson's The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, a great book for cooks and potential chicken-raisers alike.  

Lemon Meringue Pie 300x234  

“There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational — or, in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t. For instance, the Baudelaire orphans have a fear of Count Olaf, which makes perfect sense, because he is an evil man who wants to destroy them. But if they were afraid of lemon meringue pie, this would be an irrational fear, because lemon meringue pie is delicious and would never hurt a soul.”  — Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events 






9-inch pie crust (Try our Perfect Buttery and Flaky Pie Crust.)

1 cup sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
4 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringue)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp unsalted butter

4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
3 tbsp sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough and prick it in several places. Place foil over the dough and place pie weights (dried beans work well) on top. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the weights and foil. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

3. For the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the hot water, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, bubbly and whitish, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. For the meringue, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a medium bowl until they are foamy and hold soft peaks. Keep beating, adding the sugar gradually, until the whites are shiny and the peaks are stiff. Set aside and work quickly through the remaining steps.

5. Beat the yolks in a small bowl, then add 1/2 cup of the cornstarch mixture, whisking to blend. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stir, and return to medium heat. Add the lemon juice and zest, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter near the end. Remove from the heat and pour into the pie shell.

6. Lavish the meringue over the piping-hot filling, spreading it all the way to the crust. Return to the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the meringue is golden. It's helpful to let the pie sit for an hour before serving, although it's not necessary. Makes one 9-inch pie. 

See Also: 
Meringue Cookies
Egg Recipes: The Incredible Versatility of Pastured Eggs