October 3, 2009

Recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie

My Granny used to whip up this pie anytime we needed a quick treat. Back then I didn't appreciate the time she took to show me how it was made. I now know that a recipe like this is invaluable. It can be an easy, affordable and impressive dessert to throw together for dinner guests. I have scoured the web and haven't came across a recipe quite like Granny's. The buttery graham cracker crust coupled with the cool, tart lemon filling is so good. Completed with a light, marshmallowy sea of  meringue goodness.


1 cup of melted butter
1 box of crushed graham crackers
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of sugar
6 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Yeilds: 2 pies

For the crust you will need to combine 2 sticks of melted butter with 1 box of crushed graham crackers.

Most boxes contain 2-3 sealed packages inside. Use 2 packs. I just roughly crush with my hands in a plastic bag. I have used Honey, Cinnamon as well as store brand plain graham crackers for this recipe. They all taste great. Mixture should be soft and crumbly. Add more butter or crackers to get the needed consistency. Evenly distribute mixture between both pie plates and press into bottom and sides creating an even layer.

To make the filling, in a medium sized bowl beat egg yolks. Then combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, zest, and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into prepared pie plates.

It has taken me quite a few pies to get to my current meringue making level. I still have quite a ways to go. My Granny used to make these big beautiful elaborate swirls and curls. Hmph. Maybe one day...
I read somewhere that meringue acts accordingly when it's cold. So, I rigged up a little cooler for my egg whites. I place a few cups of ice into a square container and then rest my bowl inside.

I beat my egg whites and cream of tartar for what seemed like an eternity. I gradually added the sugar after it became foamy. A dash of vanilla extract right at the end. Finally when the mixture was thick and fluffy I plopped it onto the tops of my pies.

I use 2 different size spoons to create the swirls. Completely optional. It can all be flat or you can pipe it like icing. Make sure you have sealed the filling around the edges. Bake for 20 min at 375. Or just until you are satisfied with the browning of your meringue.

Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours before serving