Lemon meringue pie for the daring bakers…

by Sunita on January 28, 2008

Sometimes I feel really glad that we have the daring baker challenges only once a month…that itself goes heavy on the waistline, especially with my sweet tooth. And this month too, we had a sweet challenge, namely lemon meringue pie (chosen by Jen of The Canadian Baker) . This was my sixth completed challenge.

Lemon meringue pie is a type of baked pie, usually served for dessert, made with a pastry base, lemon curd filling and a fluffy meringue topping. It is typically prepared with a bottom pie crust, but with no upper crust; that is, the meringue is directly on top of the lemon filling.

I have some experience of making pastry, so was a bit confident with it….the filling too did not seem too complicated . But I had never made meringue before, so this was a first for me. But, I am really glad to say that everything did come together quite well enough, without any hiccups and I was pleased with the outcome.

For our challenge , the main requirement was that the flavour had to be lemon. We were allowed some freedom to make it as a pie or take it further and make them as free form tartlets As I felt a bit confident, I took up the challenge and made them as tartlets. We could also decorate it in any way we wanted or compliment it with a fruity or chocolaty sauce. Conversions for dietary requirements were allowed too.

I completed the challenge at the eleventh hour, so could not really work my head round to making any other decorations apart from making them as free form tartlets. But, as I said earlier, I was lucky enough not to meet with any disaster, so was able to complete it on time. I did follow the exact recipe. I loved the crust…nice and crisp. The filling had also set nicely and the meringue was not too bad for a first time ( well, that’s what I thought!). As for the taste, well, I can only say that I enjoyed the making more than the eating…a tad too sweet for me..and am not a very great fan of meringue. But the filling was better and so was the crust.

The following is the recipe that we had to follow…Find out what the others have been up to here -

Lemon Meringue Pie
(from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6, 5 inch tartlets

What’s needed-
For the Crust:

3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 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
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

How to-
The Crust:

  1. 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.
  2. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll ( after this step, I went to the steps for making the tartlets’ crust… the next seven steps are for the 10 inch pie)
  6. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm).
  7. 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.
  8. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm).
  9. Flute decoratively and chill for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  11. Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  12. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

The Filling:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan.
  2. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
  4. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
  5. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick.
  6. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth.
  7. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  9. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

The Meringue:

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

Daring Bakers Extra Challenge: Free-Style Lemon Tartlets (this is what I followed after step 5 of making the crust…the methods for the filling and the meringue are the same)
(from “Ripe for Dessert” by David Lebovitz)

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:
To roll out tartlet dough,

  1. Slice the dough into 6 pieces.
  2. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk.
  3. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough,

  1. Position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC).
  2. Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets,

  1. Place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF.
  2. Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.
  3. Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks.
  4. Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

That’s it! Another challenge completed! Here’s a slice…

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura Rebecca January 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Your tarts came out beautifully — they are simply gorgeous. Well done!


2 Mike of Mike's Table January 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Looks great! I love LMP and I like how you tufted the meringue to dress it up.


3 Maryann January 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm

It looks very pretty :)


4 Rajitha January 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm

lovely! i am so glad that i do not eat eggs..else i will be so tempted to join the daring bakers and add on the pounds over adn above the surplus i have ;)


5 KayKat January 29, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Fabulous! I’m definitely going for the tartlets next time.

Another last minute baker like me :)


6 Mandira January 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

gorgeous, sunita. Fabulous, and delicious. I want one :)


7 Chris January 30, 2008 at 4:01 am

Sunita! These tarts are stunning! Even though I am heading to bed and shouldn’t this late – I want to eat one of your tarts…now!


8 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:49 am

thanks…glad you like it :-)

proud Italian cook,
thanks…I quite enjoyed making them :-)


9 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:50 am

thanks…I was a bit nervous about th e meringue, this being my first :-)

thanks dear :-)


10 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:52 am

thanks…I loved the challenge :-)

bakimng soda,
thnbaks…this was my first meringue ever :-)


11 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:54 am

thanks…I was quite lucky with the filling, it set beautifully :-)

thanks…I really loved the making more than the eating ;-)


12 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:55 am

thanks…glad you like it…

wish you were near :-)


13 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:56 am

the baker and the curry maker,
thanks,,,actually this should have been my seventh,missed one :-(

thanks and you’re most welcome :-)


14 sunita January 30, 2008 at 9:58 am

thanks…you see, I’m not a great fan of the meringue, but loved the filling and the crust :-)

thanks….do give it a try :-)


15 sunita January 30, 2008 at 10:00 am

thanks..I was really lucky with the filling…had no problems with the setting :-)

thanks…the crust was not at all flaky, but I still liked it :-)


16 sunita January 30, 2008 at 10:01 am

thanks…I too am so relieved that my blog was restored entirely :-)

thanks…and you’re most welcome :-)


17 MyKitchenInHalfCups January 30, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I don’t have a sweet tooth and I liked this pie! How funny.
Sunita your tartlets are beautiful! Great peaks.


18 Bellini Valli January 30, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I think the next time I would make tartlets too. They much such a nice presentation to guests and family (of course). Look at that meringue!!


19 Andrea January 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I love the spikes on your tartlets! They look great!


20 sunita January 31, 2008 at 12:28 am

thanks…the meringue was a first :-)

passionate baker,
thanks…I guess I was lucky with the meringue :-)


21 sunita January 31, 2008 at 12:59 am

thanks…I loved making the pie :-)

Thanks…I guess I was really lucky with the filling :-)


22 sunita January 31, 2008 at 1:00 am

marion-il en faut peu pour,
thanks :-)

Laura Rebecca,
thanks…enjoyed the challenge :-)


23 sunita January 31, 2008 at 1:02 am

thanks…the meringue was a first for me :-)

thanks :-)


24 sunita January 31, 2008 at 1:03 am

:-D DD

thanks…and you said it :-)


25 sunita January 31, 2008 at 1:07 am

thanks :-)


thanks…I am glad that the meringue turned out well :-)


26 Beth G. January 31, 2008 at 1:26 am

Wow- yours looks so GORGEOUS!! You did a great job!!! Such beautiful photos :)


27 bbaking January 31, 2008 at 3:54 pm

how perfect is your meringue? wow, lovely!


28 Gabi January 31, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Beautiful free form tartlets! They remind me of old paintings of Japanese mountains.
Lovely job!


29 Quellia January 31, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Your freeform tartlettes look lovely! Such a nice, high meringue!


30 Lis February 1, 2008 at 1:09 am

Beautiful lil tartlets, Sunita!

A super job!



31 Jenny February 1, 2008 at 3:49 pm

You really managed to fit a lot of the lemon curd on your free-form tartlets – I did mine while it was still hot and only managed to fit about half of that. I love the little LMP hedgehogs that you made.


32 Kribha February 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I’ve been seeing this pie in so many other blogs too. I haven’t tasted it before. But from the other pictures I thought the filling would be a little semi-solid and runny. But yours looks so perfect like a jelly. Truly impressed. Nice work.


33 Sheltie Girl February 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Your lemon meringue tarts are simply divine. I love how the meringue looks like a little hedgehog. Lovely picture too!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go


34 Cristie February 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for the reassurance that lemon meringue pie is not prohibitively difficult. I haven’t made it since high school – a long time ago. I made it for my dad’s birthday; it’s his favorite pie. Now you’ve got me wondering if I should try making it again. Thanks,


35 Claire February 10, 2008 at 1:22 am

What a wonderfully set curd! Your tarts are beautiful. I love the meringue tips.


36 Dolores February 10, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Great job with January’s challenge. Your lemon filling set beautifully.


37 Divya Vikram February 23, 2008 at 2:20 am

They look really cute..Excellent..ur pictures are too good too..


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