My Nana made the best Lemon Meringue pie. Really, she made many delicious pies – standouts include apple and mincemeat – my favorite though was probably her lemon meringue variety. The meringue was always so perfectly browned on the peaks, but yet so soft and springy - came out just right every time. She was a great cook – even her Minute rice was somehow more delicious than any other Minute rice I ever tasted. And her wax beans – now that was a tasty side dish. Nana always kept us kids well fed – whether it was refrigerated Little Debbie cakes, fruit cups, or her favorite Jello, we loved going to Nana’s for a special treat. She passed away at the age of 96 (almost 97!) last week, and although she had not been well enough to cook in a few years, I can remember her delicious lemon meringue pies like they were baked yesterday.
In honor of my lovely Nana, I wanted to post a recipe that will always make me smile and think of her. Not sure I’ll ever quite be able to replicate it, as I’m pretty sure the reason it tasted so awesome was that it was made with love by my Nana…plus, as my cousin (the formally trained pastry chef) put it when she tried to learn how to make Nana’s apple pie – ‘that’s not a recipe! That’s guessing!’ But, here’s my best effort.
I remember I tried this once ages ago back in college, and used instant lemon pudding which promptly melted all over my oven when I attempted to brown the meringue – a rookie mistake to be sure! Now that I’m all grown up though – I decided to make my pie filling from scratch, using the miniature pie maker that my husband got me for Christmas (I swear, this is not a unitasker – I can make mini lemon meringue pie, apple pie, french meat pie, empanadas, pumpkin pie…you name it, I can make it in my mini-pie maker.) I found a recipe aptly called ‘Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie‘ – It was actually surprisingly quick to make, and the meringue was spot-on. I did feel the filling was a little on the runny side…but then again, I barely let it cool before digging in. I think my Nana would be proud.
Lemon Meringue Pie – from Emilie S. via Allrecipes.com
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 eggs, separated
- One nine inch pie crust, baked – or if you prefer, 8-12 mini pie crusts, baked
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt with a whisk. To the mixture, add water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and comes to a boil. Add the butter. Beat egg yolks. Take 3-4 tablespoons of the hot mixture and add this to the egg yolks, stirring well (this tempers the mixture so you will not have lemony scrambled eggs in your pie.) Add the egg yolks back to the saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pie crust. Time now to make the meringue. First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take the egg whites and in a large very clean glass bowl (or in your trusty stand mixer) beat on high speed until foamy. Add sugar gradually, sprinkling over the egg foam. Continue to beat until the mixture appears glossy and starts to form stiff peaks. Spread the meringue over the pie, sealing the meringue to the edge of the crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the meringue appears browned on top. Cool completely, and enjoy!