My ‘Perfect’ Lemon Meringue Pie…

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I was stoked when I heard about this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. It was for my absolute favorite dessert. The one I have asked for every single birthday. Lemon Meringue Pie. KICK ASS! This was going to be the best challenge ever!

This month’s challenge comes from Jen of The Canadian Baker. She must be brilliant, she picked Lemon Meringue Pie for godssakes. Thank you, Thank you Jen! Your the best!

As the weeks passed, complaints about said pie began to creep up on the DB blog. I ignored the complaints, even chastising some of the people for being so harsh. And I mean just plain mean! You know who you are. There is no way there would be any problems with MY pie. I love lemon meringue pie and mine would be perfect. Oh yes! Mine would be PERFECT!

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I set out on a Sunday morning to start the pie. I made the crust, which came together rather easily in the processor. I stuck it in the fridge and left it. An hour or 2 later, I went back and fetched the crust. Rolled ‘er out. Stuck ‘er in the plate. Filled with rice. In the oven she went. When she was done, she was perfect. Well minus my awful fluting skills. Really awful. That didnt matter. Things were going fine.

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When the crust was cooled, I started on the filling. It came together, was very, very thick. It looked nice and yellow. It was perfect! I told you, MY pie would be perfect. I poured the filling into the crust, covered with saran and left it to cool. I was following the recipe to a T. I wanted my pie to be perfect!

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When the filling was cool, I got going on the meringue. Once again, it was fine. It tasted good. I was feeling lazy, so I didnt pipe it on all fancy like. I just slathered it on with a palette knife. But it looked damn good. Into the oven it went. 15 minutes later, the buzzer buzzed and out it came. PERFECT!!! I did it, see I told you. I told you MY pie would be perfect. I left it alone to rest.

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1 hour later, I came to check on my perfect pie. Ut-oh. Oh no. No, no, no, no, NOOO! My meringue had pulled away from the crust. And some nasty liquid was peeking out from below. My pie was mocking me. I could hear it laughing. I stuck the pie in the fridge. Praying to the meringue pie gods to fix ‘er up. An hour later, I checked again. My poor pie. My poor perfect pie. She was not perfect. She was far from perfect. Yes, she looked the part. However, upon cutting into the pie, a stream of watery liquidy goo oozed out all over the place. My perfect crust was now soggy. My perfect meringue was still good to go. And still tasty. But the filling. Oh filling, how you did me wrong. I ate one piece. It was good. But with all the watery goo, and soggy crust. It wasnt the pie I dreamed it would be.

I want to thank Jen for such a great challenge. Even if it didnt come out as I hoped, your still brilliant in my book for picking my favorite dessert! And thanks to the DB, who I love so.

Lemon Meringue Pie
(from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)
Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008
Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:
3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

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46 thoughts on “My ‘Perfect’ Lemon Meringue Pie…

  1. Too bad your perfect pie didn’t come out as perfect as you would have liked! What a bummer! Great tale of you against the odds though! Your meringue looks perfectly browned…loving the second picture on here. Great job facing the challenge!

  2. Your meringue does look great. Sorry your pie wasn’t perfect… We really liked this month’s recipe. My husband says he loves that I do DB and Cupcake Hero every month!

  3. You poor thing! There seemed to be more moaning and groaning about the pick than anything else- and here you were actually looking forward to eating it! The runny filling seems to be a common issue with this recipe. I’m starting to wonder if maybe the directions could have been better. Or perhaps it’s really sensitive to the weather? I actually really liked the filling but I used raw sugar and juiced meyer lemons so I got a darker filling. Do you think cuppies will ship well?!😉 The meringue looks perfect tho- just go with that. heh

  4. Aw, sorry to hear about the disappointing end results… Especially after making it so far without incident! You still did and awesome job though, and I can’t wait to see how you manage on the next challenge, too.

  5. Gretchen- Thanks babe! I think they are some of the better pictures I have taken lately.

    April- Win some lose some is right. Ill try LMP again, just another recipe (Dories)

    Michelle- Thanks hun, it looked great straight out of the oven.

    Amber- Aww, thanks, your sweet.

    tw- Agreed, meringue looked good. Ill stick to it. Ill try another recipe sometime soon.

    kate- Thanks! It did taste ok. Kind of sharp for me. I think it was my lemons.

    bittersweet- Thanks, cant wait for the next challenge!

    BC- It was indeed, it was a blast to make. Just didnt turn out. Bygones.

    Nikki- Aww thanks, I wish they would ship too!

    Paula- Thanks, Cant wait to see whats up next month.

    CB- High Five back at ya!

    Deborah- Thanks!

    DaviMack- I know, so sad. I was devastated when it started to swim! LOL

  6. I am with you… I LOVE Lemon Meringue Pie, next to Boston Cream it is my favorite. But there is a very good argument out there that Boston Cream isn’t really a pie… so who knows!?! I start Daring bakers in Feb. and I am SUPER EXCITED!!!

  7. Those darn custard type fillings have tempers unlike any ever seen in easy going cupcakes and sweet souled cookies. The last time I tried a lemon meringue, I wept as much as the pie did!

  8. Luki- Another lemon lover, YAY. So glad you joined the DB too, its the most fun. Ive learned so much since joining and made some kick ass friends too.

    Dagmar- Thanks, there is always next time.

    tablebread- Thanks! It was still fun, even thought it was a swimmer at the end.

    Jenny- It did make me happy, until it floated at the end. LOL

    lemontartlet- I have made lemon curd before with success, just never a pie with meringue on top. I will try again!

    Mary- Thanks! I liked the pictures I took for once too!

  9. Oh no, you’re so funny! Confidence was not the key (as it was for me in past challenges). Sorry it didn’t turn out as you hoped, still looks good and is an awesome post if you ask me.

  10. Hi Laurie

    It’s not as bad as mine whcih fell apart when I tried to transport it from tupperware container to plate!!! Your LMP looks fab and when it comes down to it, it’s taste that counts!!!

  11. Oh Well, at least it tasted good!! Sorry your pie didn’t turn out as perfect as you’d have liked but at least it still came out good. And I loved the post too!! 🙂

  12. Sathya- Thanks! There is always next time…

    Big Boys Oven- Your too kind, thanks!

    Tammy- Oh my! I would have cried. LOL

    lemontartlet- haha, good point

    Dharm- Thanks! The meringue was still good!

  13. Ya know, sometimes it’s just not in the cards, but don’t give up! I’ve come to realize that about myself…if it doesn’t work I immediately give up on the recipe never to try it again…but it’s all about perserverance. (Sometime’s I’ve looked back at a failed recipe and realized I forgot a step, duh!) But you’re meringue looks fabulous and you definitely succeeded with the bright lemon color!!

  14. It looks great!
    My theory is that the curd needs to be cold not room temperature when the meringue goes on, so that it sets fully. I had to do that since I made it over 2 days and then didn’t have time to rewarm the meringue, and it was, if anything, too solid… but that’s definitely not what the recipe called for.

  15. you know who

    you are too funny…your dad and i were cracking up! you write just like you talk! haven’t visited qc for a long time! you have sooo much going on. i want to get in on one of the challenges…where is a good place for me start?

  16. I just don’t get this pie and it’s recipe. Everyone of us had such incredible (and some not so edible) experiences. I think this is one of our great challenges just because it’s caused such a stir.
    Your pie looks beautiful. Now if we can just figure out why it would cry so loudly . . .

  17. Stephanie- Thanks so much! I will try another LMP sometime soon. Im determined to make one that is not soup.

    veggielove- You could be right. There are a bunch of conspiracy theories around this recipe. I think Ill just find a new one next time. Thanks!

    Jen- Well there is comfort in number I guess. Thanks!

    you know who- Ill send ya an email!😛

    Miss Ifi- There is always next time, thanks!

    peabody- Your right, I should have dug right in. I know for next time for sure.

    Jess- Thanks!

    mykitcheninhalfcups- Well, I enjoyed making the pie, if nothing else. And I still love LMP, maybe just not this one. Thanks!

    Tartelette- I would have gladly let you dig in with your spoon too! Thanks. I did love the meringue. I ate it off the top.🙂

    beth g- Thanks babe! Still love my LMP.

  18. Ah, my pie laughed at me, too. But, really that meringue was so good. Your pie does look perfect and keeps my ‘perfect’ pie company. Have another piece!

  19. Oh, I’m so sorry your pie cried. I think it looks lovely and your filling isn’t nearly as runny as others and at least it still tasted great! I had my fingers crossed while reading your entire post! xxoo

  20. I’m with everyone else on this.. although not perfect, I’d elbow away anyone who got in between me, my spoon and the lusciousness! I love that third photo, Laurie.. it looks like the filling is opaque – so pretty!

    Silly question.. have you made a lemon meringue cupcake yet?😉

    xoxo

  21. Elle- Im glad my pie has a watery buddy! lol

    Jen- I had my fingers crossed while making it. It was still lots of fun.

    Dolores- Thanks! I will make another one sometime soon. I love LMP.

    Lisa- Aww, thanks! And actually I have not made a LMP cupcake yet. I had made several with lime curd in them though. Oh so good!

  22. Aw sorry to hear your perfect beloved pie could betray you like that! That meringue looks perfect. And this means you have an excuse to make the pie again.😀

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