No-Crust Lemon Meringue
My girls and I were watching Junior Master Chef last night and there was a contest where all the kids got to smash lemon meringue pies in the Chef’s faces. Those pies looked so creamy and delicious, my kids convinced me to bake one on the spot.
Which is funny because I have never baked a pie, period. Let alone on the spot. But when I looked up the directions on how to make one, and I discovered that I HAPPENED to have–and I am not making this up–2 lemons, 4 eggs, and just enough corn starch to do the job, I knew it was meant to be.
To be fair, a meringue pie is probably the easiest to make. And my recipe does not include a crust. So there’s really nothing to brag about. But it still LOOKS like something special, doesn’t it? No photo enhancements here, folks. This is pure yellow from God’s green earth! How does it get that yellow? Is it the lemon juice? Food coloring? Sunshine?
Nope. It’s egg yolk.
What a heck of a pie. Think about it. You put egg yolk into the lemon filling to add both color and silkiness, and you use the remaining egg whites for the top of the pie, creating tremendous flavor, texture, and garnish all in one. I mean how minimalist can you get?
Egg whites should look something like this–like a stiff whipped cream. But try not to touch it with anything dirty or oily (including your fingers) or you could contaminate the texture and eventually make it fall.
Leave as is, or add some strawberries for flare, if you dare.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cups water
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 egg yolks, beaten
- 4 egg whites
- 6 Tbsp white sugar
- PIE FILLING:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cup of sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Combine that mix in a medium saucepan with the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir frequently, and bring it to a boil at medium high heat.
- Once at a boil, add the butter and let it melt into the mixture, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, setting the egg whites to the side to bring them to room temperature.
- Add a ½ cup of the hot lemon mixture to the egg yolks, blend well, and reincorporate this new mixture back into the pan and whisk together.
- Bring to a boil and stir frequently until thick. Remove from heat and pour into pie tin.
- At this point, preheat the oven to 350.
- In a large, very clean metal or glass mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy (about 3 minutes).
- Add sugar gradually in spoonfuls and whip until stiff peaks form--another 7 minutes or so.
- Spread liberally onto the lemon filling, and set in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until the meringue turns a light, golden brown.