Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

In June, the day before closing for the season, our local greenhouse marked everything 40% off.  We were there to finish buying flowers for pots and some new roses but the lemon and lime trees caught my eye. My attention to plants that have to overwinter indoors is spotty at best. At this price though, it seemed worth the gamble.  We set it out in full sun for the rest of the summer.  By the time we brought it inside November 1 the lemons were beginning to turn yellow.  I’m pretty impressed with this little tree.  There are about 20 nice-sized lemons on it. If you’re used to citrus fruits in your yard this probably seems like no big deal, but here in South Dakota it’s a welcome reminder that life goes on even when we’re adrift in an ocean of snow.

Maybe lemons from the grocery store have been in storage for too long.  The first notable difference was that, even though the skins are thin, these fresh from the tree Meyer lemons are really easy to zest.  The couple that I picked and let sit around for a week were much harder to zest. It took 5 to get the 1/2 cup of juice for pie.  The extra zest went into the freezer.

There’s only one small slice left of the pie I made yesterday for Thanksgiving dessert. Our 17-year-old son says it’s the best pie I’ve ever made. It has the lemon taste without a strong acidic bite, and a vague hint of flowers.  You can see in the picture that the filling was a little too soft and should have cooked just a bit longer. The egg whites for the meringue could have been beaten a little more too, but everyone was sitting at the table waiting so I rushed it. The lone little slice left in the fridge is evidence that I was the only one who noticed how it looked.

— Joan, 25 November 2016

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Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
  • Print

  • blind-baked crust, cooled
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed juice from about 5 Meyer lemons
  • 4 large egg yolks (reserve whites for the meringue topping)
  • 4 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • meringue

fillingWhisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, zest and salt in a saucepan with the water. Stir to mix. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour this mixture over the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Return sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and start adding the butter a tablespoon at a time, stirring till each addition is melted before adding the next. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the cooled custard into the blind-baked, cool shell.  Press plastic film onto the surface and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Just before serving, make the meringue.

Meringue:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 6 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed with an electric mixer till foamy.  Add sugar gradually and increase mixer speed, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Stir in vanilla.  Pile on the custard, making sure to spread the egg whites to the crust so the custard won’t separate from the crust. Broil for 1-2 minutes till the peaks of the meringue are a golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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