Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is a delicious combination of tart and sweet!

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is a delicious combination of tart and sweet!  PERFECT for summer!So my birthday was last week, and I had a real situation on my hands.  It had absolutely nothing to do with turning a year older.  Nope, instead it had everything to do with the age-old cake vs. pie debate.  You see, I love birthday cake.  Actually, love doesn’t quite describe my feelings about a classic yellow cake with white frosting.  Lust is probably a better word.  But as strong as those feelings are about cake, they might be even stronger for Lemon Meringue Pie.  There’s something about the combination of the sweet meringue topping with the tart lemon filling.  Add in the fact that chilled desserts always taste so good on a hot summer day, and you can see how this debate began!

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is a delicious combination of tart and sweet!  PERFECT for summer!Is anyone else out there afraid of making meringue?  I mean actual meringue.  Not a whipped cream topping.  Well, I used to be afraid of meringue, too.  I’d heard so many stories about how difficult it is to make meringue.  And then one day I just got into the kitchen and started playing around.  I wasn’t making a pie or meringue cookies.  I just wanted to figure out how to make meringue.  Well, guess what?  It’s not as scary as you might think!  I did use a bit of cream of tartar to help stabilize the egg whites, but aside from that, meringue is actually pretty easy to make.

The key to meringue is making sure you whip it long enough.  (It always takes longer than I think it will…and that’s using an electric mixer.  If you’re whipping it by hand, well at least you’ll get a good workout in!)  As the picture above shows, you should be able to turn the whisk upside down and still have the meringue hold a peak.  If it flops over, keep beating those egg whites some more…it’ll get there, trust me!  (I’ve found The Kitchn’s visual guide to beating egg whites particularly helpful.  I keep it bookmarked and then take a quick peek whenever I need to whip egg whites to a specific stage.)

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is a delicious combination of tart and sweet!  PERFECT for summer!Summer is the perfect time for bright, lemon-y desserts, and this Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my favorites!  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I chose both the pie and cake.  It was my birthday, and you just can’t tell someone no on their birthday.  Go ahead…I dare you.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of pie dough, homemade or store-bought
  • For the Lemon Filling
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • For the Meringue Topping
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • powdered sugar

Instructions

    For the Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (Note: If using store-bought dough, use the temperature recommended on the package for baking unfilled crust.)
  2. Roll the pie dough into a 9” pie pan. Dock the pie crust (i.e. use a fork to pierce the crust in multiple places) and bake for 17-20 minutes or until shell is light golden brown in color.
  3. Remove pie crust from oven and let cool.
  4. For the Lemon Filling
  5. In a medium bowl, slightly beat the egg yolks. Set aside.
  6. Using a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  8. Once mixture begins to boil, gradually stir about ½ cup into the bowl with the egg yolks.
  9. Transfer egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon juice mixture. Whisk until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  10. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in butter. Transfer filling into the cooled pie crust.
  11. For the Meringue Topping
  12. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  13. Using a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. Whip until foamy. (Tip: The egg whites will be easier to whip if you let them come to room temperature first.)
  14. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until meringue is stiff and glossy.
  15. Spread the meringue on top of the lemon filling. (Tip: Make sure the meringue is touching the crust all the way around the pie.) Dust top of pie lightly with powdered sugar before baking.
  16. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until meringue turns light golden brown. Allow pie to cool to room temperature and then cover lightly and place it in the refrigerator.
  17. Serve chilled.
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Comments

  1. If life gives you lemons, make a lemon meringue pie. That’s my saying! :)
    Seriously though, this pie looks spectacular. Congrats man!

    • Heck, when life gives you any kind of fruit, my answer is always to make a pie. I’m always looking for excuses to make desserts around here! Thanks, Mike! #WolfpackEats

  2. That right there is some gorgeous lookin’ meringue, my friend! Mind if I throw my face into the pan? ;)

  3. Haha – I share your lust for birthday cake with vanilla frosting David! BTW, Happy belated birthday – hope your day was stellar – just like this pie!
    I hate to admit it, but I have never had a lemon pie – key lime yes, but never lemon – clearly am deprived…

    • Shashi…quit reading this and go make a Lemon Meringue Pie! I can’t believe you’ve never had one. :-) They are delicious! Almost as delicious as birthday cake with vanilla frosting. Haha!

  4. Good call on having both pie and cake. Especially this pie, as it looks divine!

  5. OMG, this is just the perfect dessert for my family! Love that vibrant color and I can only imagine how tasty it must be!!

  6. Happy Birthday! Lemon Meringue pie is my all time most favorite pie. I could eat a whole pie by myself. Haha Maybe I should ask for this for my birthday! Love your recipe. This looks mouthwatering and delicious.

    • Thank you so much, Cindy! I think you can totally request a lemon meringue pie for your birthday…heck, you can request one in mid-July ever year to help celebrate my birthday! :-)

  7. I used to be afraid of egg whites too until I started making macarons. probably not the best place to start but it has made everything to do with meringue easy. I tried angel food cake for the first time and was not even scared. Love love this pie!! I must make since I keep buying it by the slice anyway at my favorite local bakery lol! PS: Happy belated birthday :)

    • Thanks, Zainab! Yes, you would totally rock this pie…I know it! Your macarons are to-die-for, so a meringue pie would be a piece of cake for you. or maybe a piece of pie…you know what I mean!

  8. I love that you had both pie and cake for your birthday! That is how I would want to celebrate! This meringue pie looks fabulous! It has been on my list for quite some time! I need to just bite the bullet! Gorgeous photos!

    • Thanks so much, Lindsey! I mean, your birthday only comes around once a year…if that’s not an excuse to have pie and cake, then I don’t know what is! :-)

  9. David! This looks so so delicious and the most perfect dessert for summer.
    My dad loves lemon meringue pie and can throw down a whole one if he’s really craving one. I’ve actually never made on myself (I’m more of a cream pie boy myself), but I’m definitely going to have to make this one especially for him.

    Hope you’ve been doing well!

    • I have been doing well, Graham! I just checked out your world travel post, and it’s awesome! You totally do need to give a meringue pie a chance…it’s way easier than you might think. But you better make sure your Dad isn’t around…at least until you get some pictures! :-)

  10. lovely classic pie!

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