This classic Lemon Meringue Pie is just like the one my grandma used to make. No lemon pie filling mixes here. From scratch lemony goodness that is light and lemony with a flaky homemade pastry crust.
Lemon Meringue Pie – A Classic!
My Grandma was the baker in the family. That is the Grandma on my mom’s side. The other Grandma… not so much. My mom’s mom made the absolute best shortbread, pastry and Christmas Pudding ever along with a killer Lemon Pie. Oh and buttertarts!
She was an excellent baker all round. Since she has passed my mom has tried to make her recipe but like many of my grandma’s recipes she had her tricks. I was fortunate to make a date one day with her and she shared many of her tricks like how to make her pastry but lemon pie didn’t get covered in that day. So I have been on the hunt for a great lemon meringue pie recipe ever since.
Lemon pie is my humble opinion complicated. All 3 elements need to be perfectly balanced. Flaky pie crust, a thick lemony centre and a light fluffy meringue topping. Not an easy feat!
But this recipe I from Taste of Home nailed it as far as the filling and meringue goes.
I will say that when I made this recipe based on the instructions my kitchen blew up. I think I must have used 3 pots, 3 bowls and a millions spoons etc. to do this and was racing around like a mad woman. So I have modified the instructions a bit to make this recipe flow a little more to the order I am used to doing things.
Also this recipe is meant to be done in a regular pie tin but because I hadn’t planned on eating a whole pie I made mini pies and gave away half to my neighbours. I mean as a food blogger if I were to eat everything I made I would need to work out a lot lot lot more than I do!
How to Make Fresh Pastry Like a Champ!
First you need to make the pie crust or if you would rather you can always buy ready made pie crust but remember you are forsaking one of the most important layers if you do this. The flaky pastry is just as important as the fluffy meringue and store bought crusts just don’t cut the mustard.
I promise once you see how easy it is you will never buy store bought crust again.
- Fill a large cup with 1 cup of cold water and 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Drop one large egg into vinegar water and lightly beat.
- In a large bowl add 6 cups of pastry flour, 1 tbsp of salt and 1 lb of lard/shortening cut into pieces. I use Tenderflake and think it works best.
- Use a pastry knife or two knives held in one hand to cut the lard into the flour in little pieces. The texture is like course oatmeal with a few larger pieces of lard interspersed. These little chunks of lard are what give the pastry it’s flakiness. Over mixing will create a tough pastry.
- Then gradually pour the egg mixture into the bowl of flour and lard and gently mix to combine with a fork. Press the dough together with the palms of your hands to form the dough into 6 equal balls. Cover with saran wrap to keep moist until ready to roll out.
- Store unused pastry tightly wrapped with saran in freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw when ready to use.
Should Lemon Pie Be Refrigerated?
Yes! Lemon Pie is made with eggs and and while they are cooked eggs this recipe is very egg heavy so it is recommended that a lemon meringue pie not be left out on the counter more than 2 hours. Longer and sorry folks but you need to trash it! Store in the fridge covered for up to 3 days if it hangs around that long.
Tips For Preventing A Soggy Lemon Pie?
- Blind bake the pie crust. That means bake the pie crust fully before putting he filling in. The crust should be slightly golden and firm to the touch when fully cooked.
- Add the lemon pie filling when the crust is still hot/warm to avoid steam which may cause condensation between the filling and the crust
- Make sure the the meringue goes edge to edge of the crust creating a seal between the lemon filling and the meringue. Again keeping any moisture out.
- Ensure the lemon curd in the centre is completely cooked.
- The lemon filling must be thick and not watery. This recipe uses cornstarch as a thickener.
- Store in the fridge to keep the meringue from getting soggy.
Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Light, flaky, lemony with a soft pillowy meringue topping. A Classic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe just like my grandma used to make.
- 1 cup water cold
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 large egg
- 6 cups pastry flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 lb lard
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 large egg yolks lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest grated
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar divided
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water cold
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 F.
In a large cup add cold water, vinegar and egg and beat lightly
In a large bowl add pastry flour, salt and lard. Use pastry cutter or two knifes held in one hand to break up lard into flour to form an coarse oatmeal like texture but with a few larger pieces of lard here and there.
Gradually add the egg mixture to flour and lard and gently mix with a fork until blended and flour is combined. You do not want flour mixture to be wet or pastry will turn out tough.
Press the dough together to form 6 even balls. The heat from your hands will help it all come together and become smoother and less crumbly.
On a flat surface scatter a little bit of flour and roll dough out to about a 1/2 inch thickness. The flour will help the pastry from sticking to the surface. Gently pick up rolled pastry and lay evenly across a 9" pie plate. Gently presspastry into pan so that it flat on the bottom and sides. Trim to about t 1/2 inch on all sides beyond edge of plate. Flute edges of crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Remove pie crust and reduce heat on oven to 350 F
In a large sauce pan combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the cold water to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat stirring gently until liquid is thickend and becomes clear.
Remove thickened liquid and transfer to small bowl. Cool completely. To do this quickly put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
In a large bowl beat egg white and vanilla on high until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Beat in cooled thickened cornstarch until stiff glossy peaks form and all sugar is dissolved.
While pie crust is baking in a large saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in the water until most of the lumps are gone from the cornstarch. Cook on medium-high stirring often until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in a small amount of the hot filling into egg yolks first and then add all of the egg yolks to the pan with the thickened cornstarch and bring to gentle boil and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir int he butter and lemon zest. Gently stir in the lemon juice until just combined and then pour into warm pie crust.
Gently spoon or pour meringue over warm pie filling making sure that meringue is sealed around edge of pie crust.
Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Do not refrigerate until cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
For mini pies simply cut smaller circles of crust and allow 1/2 inch around on all sides just as you would with the larger pie tin.
- Make sure the eggs have been separated, the lemons juices and zested before starting this recipe because this recipe in my opinion requires a little speed to make sure the layers are brought together when warm. Timing is everything and you don’t want to be zesting a lemon last minute.
- When separating egg yolks for lemon filling reserve the egg whites in a separate bowl to use later for the meringue
- For the meringue transfer the thickened and clear cornstarch to a small bowl and put for a short while in the freezer to quickly cool while you beat the egg white and sugar