Lemon Meringue Pie topped with billows of fluffy meringue is universal in appeal. The homemade lemon curd filling pairs perfectly with the egg white meringue, for the ultimate finish to any meal.
Southern Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
I’m certain it will come as no surprise that I love the history of food. While I have deep Southern roots and reside in the South, I’ve been blessed to travel the world over and have lived abroad as well. It never ceases to amaze me how some dishes transcend language and border boundaries and this lemon meringue pie is one such example. Whether it’s called a lemon tart or lemon pie, there’s never any doubt that it will be well received. Topping pies with meringues has been traced back to the early 1700’s. Food historians believe that lemon meringue pie originated in the early 1800’s in Philadelphia. It’s thought to have been invented by a pastry chef, who paired a sweet meringue with lemon curd to form this pie we all love.
How to Make the Best Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
To prevent or should I say, to slow “weeping” of the lemon pie filling, there are a few techniques that will help. Read below for pie making pointers.
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Lemon Meringue Pie: A 9 inch deep dish pie shell, fresh lemon juice, water, butter, corn starch, granulated sugar, salt, large eggs, lemon zest.
- To make the meringue you’ll need: The egg whites reserved from making the filling, granulated sugar, cream of tarter and vanilla extract.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: A deep dish pie pan, stand mixer or hand mixer, large bowl, medium bowl, measuring cups and spoons, lemon zester, juicer and a heavy bottomed saucepan.
- You can use a frozen or my flaky homemade pie crust for this lemon pie.
- To expedite, you may choose to make the meringue first so that it’s ready to go once you’ve cooked the filling.
- Be patient and take the time to gently cook the filling until it’s thickened, don’t skimp. This will help ensure that it will set-up for slicing.
- Spread the meringue on the filling while it’s still hot. This helps to steam the meringue from the bottom and seal it to the lemon pie filling.
- When spreading the meringue onto the pie, take it all the way to the crust, not leaving any of the filling exposed.
- When broiling the meringue, don’t walk away. Placing onto a pan helps when turning to get even browning.
- Allow ample time to chill thoroughly before cutting to allow the filling to fully set.
- When I plan on serving lemon meringue pie, I typically make it in the morning for dessert later the same day. That said, it will keep chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What Variety of Lemons is Best for Lemon Meringue Pie?
The most common lemon varieties we find in our local grocery stores are Lisbon or Eureka lemons. They’re large, highly acidic with thick brightly colored skins. Meyer lemons are more round and the skin is smoother and thinner than regular lemons. The flavor is a cross between a lemon and a sweet orange like a mandarin orange. For this pie I recommend using the regular lemon varieties found in the produce department for the classic flavor profile.
More Lemon Dessert Recipes to Make
Lemon, in any form lends a bright and sunny flavor whether the dish is savory or sweet. Other lemon dessert recipes to try:
- Outrageous Lemon Lovers Trifle is always a fan favorite.
- Classic Lemon Bars.
- Soft pillowy Glazed Lemon Cookies.
- Lemon Burst Poke Cake is a single layer cake packed with citrus flavor.
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is the perfect snack any time of day.
- Lemon Curd Tart is sheer decadence.
- Lemon Muffins via The View From Great Island.
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1 9 inch deep dish pie crust baked and cooled
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 large egg yolks reserve whites for meringue
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 5 large egg whites reserved from eggs
- 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
- 1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract optional
- 1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar adjust to your taste
- In a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add water and lemon juice.
- Cook whisking gently over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thickened.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Temper egg yolks by drizzling 1/4 cup warm liquid into beaten yolks while constantly whisking.
- Lower heat to medium. Whisking constantly gradually add tempered egg yolks to saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring with a spatula. The mixture should be thick. Remove from heat adding butter and zest. Mix until completely melted and fully blended.
- Pour filling evenly into crust. Cover with plastic wrap while you prepare the meringue.
- To make the meringue: (To expedite, you may choose to make the meringue first so that it's ready to go once you've cooked the filling.} Using an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with cream of tarter and vanilla until foamy. Slowly add sugar while beating. Beat until all sugar has been added and stiff glossy peaks, this will take several minutes. (Tip: The slower you add the sugar will help it dissolve and prevent a gritty texture.)
- Remove plastic from pie. Spread meringue on top taking it completely to the crust. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes until browned or broil for several minutes, turning for even browning. Don't walk away.
- Chill for at least 4-6 hours before slicing.