Lemon meringue pie is known for it’s tart filling and it’s light, fluffy meringue topping that contrasts so well with the tart lemon below. Meyer lemons don’t have that same level of tartness, although the still have a strong lemon flavor to them. When you use them in a recipe like this one, you end up with a pie that is much mellower and sweeter than a traditional lemon meringue. I like it for a change of pace, and as a way to use up some of my meyer lemons!
In a regular lemon meringue pie, I don’t often add other flavors into the pie custard because I want the tartness of the lemon lemon to come through clearly. With this pie, I add in some vanilla extract and put both lemon zest and vanilla into the meringue. This gives the pie a lovely lemon flavor overall, but plays up the mellowness of the meyer lemons with the introduction of vanilla. Since the same flavors are in the meringue and the custard, you get still more flavor but with a a big contrast in textures between the fluffy meringue and dense lemon custard.
This pie recipe makes a very thick lemon custard for the base of the pie. This means that it will slice easily and hold its shape without oozing all over the plate. The pie still has a very tender texture to it, despite its firmness, so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating a pie that has been stabilized with gelatin, either. The meringue for this pie is cooked by streaming hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. This method of making meringue results in one that is very stable and won’t deflate or “sweat” easily. I browned mine by putting it under the broiler for a few minutes, but a kitchen torch will work just as well.
Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie
1 9-inch pie crust, prebaked and cooled
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup fresh meyer lemon juice, strained
1 tbsp meyer lemon zest
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp meyer lemon zest
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a whisk, for about 3 minutes, until quite thick. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks with meyer lemon juice and lemon zest.
Gradually temper egg yolks by streaming about 1 cup of the sugar mixture as you whisk constantly. Return saucepan to the heat and, whisking continuously, stream in lemon mixture. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
Pour into prepared crust.
Allow to cool completely to room temperature.
One filling has cooled, preheat oven to 425 F or turn on the broiler.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar and beat at high speed until egg whites almost reach soft peaks.
In a small saucepan or small skillet, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and turn heat to very low.
Turn the mixer on to medium to fluff up the egg whites, then stream in sugar syrup and beat egg whites to medium stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
Spoon meringue onto pie filling and make sure to completely seal the edges with the crust, leaving no filling exposed.
Bake for 4-7 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned.
Makes 1 pie.