I love making pie, any kind of pie although apple is my favourite pie to make. I am proud of the fact that I can turn out an apple pie in about half an hour. I actually managed to make one in the fall, when my girls were only about 3 months old (how I managed that, however, I’m still not sure!). I also love eating pie… especially pie for breakfast… with a good cup of coffee, there is nothing better! I’m partial to apple pie (as I said) but will eat just about any kind. Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie is another one of my favourites (although meringue is a word I always have trouble spelling!) I love the tartness of the lemons & the bright yellow colour. Usually my lemon pies turn out great, but I once made a lemon pie that was green! Everyone asked if I had used limes but there had been a reaction between the pot I used & the lemon juice. I now understood why my Mom had always used a glass pot to make the lemon filling! I have never ended up with a green pie since then though! Below you will find the recipe we have used for years for homemade lemon meringue pie… I think the recipe originally came from a Company’s Coming cookbook.
For the crust, I use a recipe I found in an old cookbook my Nannie gave me & it’s now my go-to pie crust recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy & I have it memorized. Most pie crust recipes call for the shortening/butter to be cold & to use cold water. I believe this original recipe called for the shortening at room temperature & warm water. I always use room temperature shortening & it turns out great. Feel free to use whatever crust recipe works for you… this just happens to be mine.
2 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening
6 tbsp. water (give or take)
Pinch of salt
Combine flour, salt & shortening with a pastry cutter (if you don’t have one, two knives will work just as well). Once shortening is broken up into small pieces begin adding the water, a tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork, until a dough ball starts to form. Continue to add water until all of the flour/shortening mixture is incorporated into the ball. If you need more than 6 tablespoons of water, add more. If you add too much & the pastry is too sticky to knead, add a little more flour.
Once you have your dough ball formed, knead until all of the lumps are worked out (start kneading in the bowl & then move to a floured surface). The trick with pie crust is not to over knead it or your pastry will become tough but you can safely knead for 5 minutes or so. Divide the pastry into two (typically a bottom crust & top crust). Roll out bottom crust (I usually use a 9 inch pie plate) slightly larger than your pie plate. Since lemon pie has no top crust, reserve other crust for later (freeze if you are not going to use right away for another pie). Place bottom crust in pie plate, trim the edges & scallop, poke with a fork & bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden. Cover top edges with tinfoil if they begin to get too brown. When crust is baked, remove from oven & cool.
Lemon Filling Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
Place first four ingredients (water, sugar, lemon juice, butter) in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Stir often to dissolve sugar.
Combine remaining sugar, water & cornstarch in a bowl (I once used cornstarch I had bought in bulk & it was very lumpy, causing lumps in my filling – sift the cornstarch to avoid any lumps). Add egg yolks & salt. Mix well. Slowly pour egg yolk mixture, while stirring, into the boiling water/lemon juice. (Be sure to stir continuously & pour slowly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs!) Keep stirring until it boils & thickens. Continue to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes to allow starchy taste to disappear. Remove from heat. Let stand while making meringue.
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (helps form stiff peaks)
4 tbsp. sugar
Beat egg whites & cream of tartar in small mixing bowl (not plastic) until stiff peaks form. I often don’t have cream of tartar in the house so I make the meringue without it & the meringue turns out fine (if you don’t have it either, not to worry!). Add sugar gradually while beating. No granules should be felt when rubbing a bit of meringue between fingers.
Pour lemon filling into baked pie shell. Pile meringue on top of filling. Push around edges to seal to crust. Bake in 350F oven until meringue is golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool at room temperature for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting. Enjoy!