I have a hard time choosing between lemon meringue pie and cherry pie as my favorite. I've been making fewer lemon meringue pies these days because a member of the household can't eat the acidic lemon part. You may recall that last summer I tried making the pie partly with lemon and partly with orange juice. It was a success by all measures except the acidic one. It was still too acidic.
Now I love that sweet tart taste of the lemon filling but I do occasionally bend to the preferences of others. So this year, the filling is lemon cream. The pie still has the yummy meringue but the filling is made with milk and cream to temper the acidity of the lemon.
The meringue is fabulous. It's heated to 140 while being beaten, which is supposed to eliminate the problems with raw eggs. It turned out great. I'll make the meringue this way again on other pies.
To save time, I (gasp) used a store bought pie shell. I won't make that mistake again. It's definitely not anywhere near as good as a homemade crust. Take the extra time to make one, even if it's just mashed graham crackers.
The creamy center didn't have the lemony tartness that I like so much, but then - that was the point! Did it pass the grade with the person who can't tolerate other lemon meringue recipes? No! It was too sour. I think we just have to admit that lemons are not her friend. Nevertheless the pie turned out okay.
Lemon Cream Meringue Pie
1 9-inch pie crust, baked
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons )
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
LEMON CREAM FILLING:
Whisk together the egg yolks and the 1/2 cup lemon juice in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the 2/3 cup sugar with the cornstarch and whisk together. Add the milk and whisk in. Heat to a gentle boil, whisking the whole time, until it thickens.
When thick, remove from heat and slowly add about 1/3 cup of the milk mixture to the lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Still whisking, add the lemon mixture to the pot with the milk mixture. Bring to a gentle boil and whisk about one minute more.
Add the butter immediately and whisk in. Still whisking, slowly add the 1 cup of heavy cream until completely blended. Place plastic wrap on top of the filling (touching it) and set aside to cool.
When cool, ladle into baked pie shell and smooth the top.
Locate a small pan in which your mixer's bowl fits. Add about an inch of water to the pan and bring to a simmer. In the mixing bowl, whisk together the 4 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Place over the water in the pan and whisk until the meringues register 140 degrees. Then whisk for 2 more minutes.
Preheat oven to 400.
Take the mixing bowl to your mixer and beat the egg whites until they can hold a shape but are not dry. Add the meringue to the top of the pie, smoothing to the edges and leaving some peaks.
Place in oven 5 - 10 minutes. Watch carefully at this point, because 1 minute can make a big difference.
Refrigerate several hours to set before serving.
|Whisk together lemon juice and egg yolks.|
|Whisk together sugar (mine was unbleached) and cornstarch.|
|Add butter and heavy cream.|
|Whisk egg whites over a water bath.|
|Just as pretty (okay we cut it a little early) but not as acidic.|