Monday, January 28, 2008


I have an announcement to make: From now on I will refer to lemon meringue pie as LMP. I earned it during this month's Daring Baker's challenge.

LMP is not usually my cup of tea- why make LMP when lemon bars have a higher crust-to-curd ratio? So I have never made it before, but I really enjoyed making this month's challenge. Learning how to make a classic dessert is always fun, and it makes me feel nostalgic even though I have no recollection of eating homemade LMP in my childhood. Or ever. So I guess I've only had store-bought, maybe? Luckily this concoction was much yummier.

My husband was a big fan of this pie. The extra sweet pie crust offset my (too) tart lemon curd filling. If I were to make this again I would add the lemon juice gradually, and taste-testing often, as I have a sneaking suspicion that some lemons are just more tart than others.

Also, the filling wept like a baby after we cut the pie. Is this normal for LMP? I wouldn't know. Many Daring Bakers complained of soggy crusts, but my brilliant husband stored our pie on a sland so all the liquid drained away from the pie- so the crust stayed good for at least 2 days.

The crust was...different. It had an unusual amount of water and sugar. It was butter based. Pretty much it was a sugar cookie. I think it worked well with the filling, but as the recipe is written I found it almost unworkable. Next time I will add the water gradually, as I ended up with a sticky mess that couldn't be made into crust. So I reworked it, probably destroying any possibility of flakiness. Then I think I undercooked it a tad (I hate my new oven. hate.) I made the crust a little bit thicker than my normal crust just to balance out the lemon filling, and that detail was appreciated by Ryan.

I thought the meringue was perfect- and so beautiful! Sometimes the egginess of it grosses me out, but this was a good meringue recipe.

I discovered during this challenge that LMP is a LOT more labor-intensive than lemon bars. Advantage lemon bars again. So, if you are a die-hard LMP enthusiast, or you are feeling nostalgic, see the recipe below. And visit other Daring Baker's blogs right here. Otherwise I refer you to the recipe that would turn anybody into a believer-
Mrs. Dart's Lemon Bars.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:
¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
¾ cup (180 mL)
fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20
minutes.Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by
rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture
will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.


Baking Soda said...

What a glorious shaped crust (love the plate!). I guess it's back to lemon bars then...

Deborah said...

Your pie looks perfect! I love lemon meringue pie, and lemon bars - so I'll have to check out that lemon bar recipe!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Holly your pie looks fabulous!!!
Our LMP is sure one challenge that has stirred up the DBs isn't it?
I can't believe how many different problems this brought out in us.

Dolores said...

I'm glad you decided to diverge from lemon bars for this one... you did a great job with the January challenge and I enjoyed reading your story of LMP.

DaviMack said...

Lovely looking pie - and a "second" to the idea of tasting along the way! So many of us either went too sweet or too tart, because of the differences in lemons.

Good job!

natals said...

Gorgeous pie! The one time I made LMP from scratch it wept too. Oddly enough though, the crust didn't get soggy. I never could figure that one out.

Paige and Garrett said...

Ok Holly. This is my entry into your give-away contest. I think I should get two votes, though, because long ago I told you my molten lava cakes were way better than your brownies. I'd post the recipe if all my cookbooks weren't packed in a storage unit in Virginia! So, instead, here is my (almost equally) as good recipe for apple pie. Apple pie trumps any other kind of pie, in my opinion. Even your LMP. This one's really cool cause there is no pre-made crust. The ingredients cook such that a crust is formed during the baking. Very cool. Here we go:

Easy Swedish Apple Pie (from

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup melted butter
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Toss apples with 1 tablespoon of sugar, and pour them into a pie plate. Thoroughly mix together 1 cup of sugar with the flour, cinnamon, butter, and egg. Spread this evenly over the top of the pie.
Bake in preheated oven until the apples have cooked and the topping is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.