The other day I was overcome with the urge to make a lemon meringue pie. I’ve made them on numerous occasions using a box of lemon pudding mix but never lemon pudding from scratch.
I shall never open another box of lemon pudding again.
The burst of flavor, the fusion of sweet and tart, was positively wonderful. Not to mention the euphoric state created by zesting the lemons. The scent was beyond divine and delightful. I was afraid Captain Cavedweller would come home to find me still melted in a puddle across the kitchen floor.
Yes, it was that fantabulous.
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 pre-baked pie crust, cooled
3 egg whites
3/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
To start with, make sure your bowl is completely grease-free. Any oily residue will ruin your meringue. Go for a glass bowl if it all possible. You need 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar for each egg white. Sprinkle on top of egg whites and beat with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff peaks forms and the meringue is glossy and lovely.
You will want to whip up the meringue before you start cooking the pudding.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
3 large yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, softened
NOTE: Three fresh lemons gave me plenty of zest and came out, when squeezed by hand, to be right at 1/2 cup of juice. Do yourself a favor and squeeze your own juice. The flavor is amazing! Also, separate your egg whites from the yolks and put the whites into a large mixing bowl. You’ll use them for the meringue.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Whisk to combine. Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Add egg yolks.
Stir in lemon zest and salt.
Place saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick.
Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. If you don’t want the zested lemon in your pudding you can run it through a fine mesh strainer at this point. If you are like me and don’t care, pour the pudding into the prepared pie crust. You can make your own crust – I highly recommend the vodka pie crust recipe – or use a store-bought crust. Whatever floats your boat. Mine floated with the vodka recipe.
While the pudding is still piping hot, spoon on the meringue and bake in oven for about 5 minutes or until top is lightly browned. If you want mile-high meringue, double the recipe for the meringue. I’d recommend baking it at a lower temperature longer to make sure the inside gets cooked – 325 for 20 minutes or so.
Let cool completely before serving. Then enjoy!