A no-fail recipe for a classic lemon meringue pie that’s easy to make, especially if you use store bought, ready maid graham cracker crusts.
Good Housekeeping sent me The Little Book of Baking to review. It only has 55 recipes, but it’s filled with the basics that every baker should know how to bake. It’s also loaded with tips every baker should know: how to measure flour, how to make a pie crust, volumes of pans, and so much more, all in a cute little spiral bound book. Details on how you can win a copy of The Little Book of Baking are at the bottom of this post.
I chose to make the classic lemon meringue pie recipe. Lemon meringue is an easy pie to make, you just cook the filling on the stove and brown the merinuge in the oven. If you’re intimidated by making pie crust, you can buy a crust. Since I had mini graham cracker crusts in the pantry, I decided to make tarts.
If you struggle with separating the egg whites from the egg yolks, the easiest way to separate them is with your hands. Just crack the egg and gently cradle the yolk, letting the whites fall into a bowl beneath your hand.
Although lemon meringue is an easy pie to make, the recipe you use is important. I liked this recipe because they did everything right. You mix the cornstarch with the sugar so the filling doesn’t get clumpy; you temper the eggs so they don’t cook before they’re incorporated; you add the lemon juice after cooking the filling so it keeps the fresh, tart flavor; and they topped the filling while it’s hot, which helps the meringue from getting too watery.
This is a wonderful little book for the beginning baker, or someone just looking for a quick, easy baking guide book. It would make a nice gift if you’re still shopping.
- 10 mini graham cracker crusts
- 5 to 6 medium lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 large eggs yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- From lemons, grate 1 tablespoon lemon peel and squeeze 3/4 cup juice. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt; stir in water until blended. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat.
- In small bowl, with wire whisk, whisk egg yolks. Stir in 1/2 cup hot cornstarch mixture until blended; slowly pour yolk mixture back into cornstarch mixture in saucepan, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Place saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until mixture comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring until filling is very thick 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in lemon juice and peel; mixture will thin out. Pour into pie shells.
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- In medium bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. Gradually sprinkle in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar completely dissolves and egg whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks when beaters are lifted.
- Spread meringue over warm filling. To keep meringue from shrinking during baking, make sure it touches edge of crust all around. Use back of wooden spoon to make attractive swirl patterns on top of meringue. Bake until meringue is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool pie complete on wire rack away from drafts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Good Housekeeping The Little Book of Baking © 2012 by Good Housekeeping, Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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