Monday, September 24, 2012

Blast from My Past--Lemon Meringue Pie

A few weeks back I received a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie (recipe follows). Boy was this one a blast from the past. Not only had my mother and my aunt made this many, many times, this was also one of the recipes we made in the foods lab as freshman home economics majors learning about making a meringue topping. I later used the recipe to teach the same thing in my own foods labs. The instructions on the version I recently received reminded me of those cryptic recipes from my mother's journals, making me smile out loud. I dug through some old recipes collected from my college days—a good home economist never throws a recipe away—and found the one I had used with my students. This one was easy and sweet, a winning combination when working with teens.

One note about the crust: Unlike graham cracker or Ritz Cracker crusts, this combination using Pamela's Lemon Shortbread Cookies, slides down the sides of the pie pan to make a crust "layer". When cut, the pie is still pretty and the crust is moist and tender. The lemon taste in the cookies reinforces the lemon  flavor of the filling.

For fluffy meringue toppings, use egg whites at room temperature. Beat them in a glass bowl with straight sides using an electric hand-held mixer. The bowl size should be in proportion for the number of egg white. For this recipe, I used a medium sized bowl. The cream of tartar, which is an acid, helps stabilize the egg whites. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Avoid over beating the egg whites which will tend to make them dry and may cause them to "crack" during the cooking process.

Lemon Cookie Crust


9 cookies Pamela's Lemon Shortbread Cookies
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place Pamela's Lemon Shortbread Cookies in the bowl of a food processor. Process until cookies are fine crumbs.
3. Place crumbs in small bowl; add melted butter. Mix and pour into an 8- or 9-iinch pie plate. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pie plate and slightly up the sides. Don't worry if the edges are not even. The edges will even out during the cooking process.
4. Place pie plate in the center of a cookie sheet; place in middle of preheated oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are brown and the center in bubbly and beginning to brown.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding the filling.


3 large egg yolks slightly whisked
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1. Place egg yolks in medium mixing bowl; pour lemon juice over egg yolks. Allow to stand for 2 to 3 minutes while you open the sweetened condensed milk.
2. Slightly beat egg yolks and lemon juice. Add sweetened condensed milk; using an electric mixer, beat until thoroughly blended.
3. Pour filling into cooled pie crust; set aside.


3 large egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Turn oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place egg whites in small mixing bowl with straight sides. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar to egg whites. Add salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Slightly beat to thoroughly mix.
3. Using a large rubber spatula, scrape all of egg white mixture onto the middle of the pie filling. Gently spread egg white over the entire top of the filling. Make sure the meringue "seals" to the sides of the pie plate to prevent shrinking during the cooking process.
4. Place pie in middle of cookie sheet; place in middle of preheated oven. Bake for 12  to 15 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Allow to cool slightly on cooling rack. Place in refrigerator for 4 hours before cutting.
Servings: 8
Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Calories per Serving: 300

Author: Dr. Jacquelyn P. Horne
Copyright: 2012

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