This is a birthday pie I made for my husband last month. He’s born January 2nd and if there is a time when desserts are the last thing on my mind, January 2nd would be the day. But this pie works. There’s no cloying chocolate or sticky caramel to wrangle with. Instead of a sickening sweetness, this pie is the perfect balance between sweet and tart. And let’s just face it, this is a showstopper and while it may not be light in calories, the texture is ethereal and airy.
Glance down at the recipe and take a look at the steps involved. Scared? Don’t be. Sure, there are crusts to make (but I make it easy by crushing cookies instead of rolling dough), curd to prepare and egg whites to beat, but really, this pie is about one hours worth of prep in the kitchen. The rest is just waiting. The waiting is murder, but like all good long waits, the results are divine. And like I said, it’s a whopper of a dessert that packs a punch not only in pure deliciousness but in beauty as well. Make this pie and you will receive accolades and kisses (just make sure you make it for someone who you want kisses from).
So go ahead and make someone’s day. Make this pie and celebrate in the most delicious way. The leftovers (if you have any) also make a wonderful *ahem* breakfast along side of a hot strong coffee. You know, just saying.
Also, I should mention that I’ll be writing for ReadyMade’s food & kitchen blog, Feast. I’m super excited that I was asked to be a part of the ReadyMade empire as I’ve been reading the magazine since nearly their very first issue. I’ll be writing about different things than what I blog about here, but it will always be food-related. So please stop by, leave a comment and add us to your RSS feed!
lemon meringue pie
(filling & meringue recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)
vanilla cookie coconut crust
35-40 Nilla wafers, finely crushed
1/4 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1 T sugar
1/4 c melted butter
4 large egg yolks
1 scant c sugar
4 1/2 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 c water
1/2 c milk
1 T unsalted butter
2 t lemon zest
1/2 c lemon juice
4 large egg whites
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t salt
3/4 c sugar
Make the pie shell:
Preheat oven to 350F. If you have a food processor, I envy you. Whizz away. If you don’t, just crush the cookies with a rolling pin. I put the cookies into a ziplock bag and then place a tea towel over top. Smash away and get your ya-ya’s out. Dump crumbs into a large bowl, add in coconut and sugar and stir. Pour in melted butter and stir again. Press mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch tart or pie pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden. Set aside.
Make the filling:
1. Whisk together yolks in a medium bowl. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk and water until cornstarch and sugar dissolves and mixture starts to thicken.
2. Very slowly pour one cup of the hot liquid into the beaten yolks and whisk away. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and continue to whisk over a simmer, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and add in butter, zest and lemon juice and whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Place some plastic wrap or parchment paper over top so that a skin doesn’t form.
Make the meringue:
With a stand or electric mixer, beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Turn up the speed and add in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Assemble & bake the pie:
Pour lemon filling into the warm shell. If the shell isn’t warm, just reheat in the oven for a few minutes. Spread meringue smoothly and evenly over top, covering the lemon filling completely. Using your spatula, swirl and draw up peaks in the meringue so it looks pretty. Bake until the meringue is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature for 2 hours and then refrigerate until cold, about another 2 hours.