Recipe: Mom's sky-high lemon meringue pie

Recipe: Mom's sky-high lemon meringue pie

Image: Alexandra Defurio


Recipe: Mom's sky-high lemon meringue pie

Combined together, the flaky crust, mouth-watering lemon filling and sweet meringue topping all make up this delicious pie.


Pie Crust

  • 1-1⁄2 cups flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2-1⁄2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, divided

Lemon Filling

  • 1-1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1⁄2 cups water
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 2 to 2-1⁄2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 4 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons)


  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1⁄3 cups superfine sugar



Pie Crust

1 In the bowl of your food processor, pulse flour and salt a few times just to combine. Add shortening and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces.

2 With the food processor running, slowly add water in a steady stream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when you squeeze a bit in your hand. If it’s too crumbly, add a little more water. Make sure you don’t add too much water—you don’t want the dough to be sticky.

3 Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

4 Remove pastry dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to soften slightly so it’s easier to roll out.

5 Place dough on the center of a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a little more flour over the surface of the dough.

6 With a rolling pin, roll the dough from the center out to the edge,
applying even pressure and rotating the rolling pin in various directions to create a circle, approximately 12 inches in diameter and of even thickness. Fold dough in half and carefully lift it into a 9-inch pie pan.

7 Unfold and gently ease dough into the pan so that 1 inch of the pastry overhangs the edge all around; trim off any excess. Create a ruffled edge by pressing the knuckles of your first two fingers, spread about an inch apart, into the edge as you work your way around the entire crust. Refrigerate 1 hour or more before baking.

8 Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

9 Prick bottom and sides of pie shell with fork to vent steam and prevent shrinkage. Bake 12–15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Lemon Filling

1 In heavy-bottom medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute; mixture will be thickened and translucent.

2 Remove from heat. Add a little of the hot mixture into egg yolks in a small bowl, whisking constantly; pour tempered egg mixture back into saucepan and add the lemon zest. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture boils again, about 1 minute.

3 Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Gradually stir in lemon juice. Pour into center of pie crust. Let cool while making meringue.


1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add salt and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form. Add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, and continue beating on high until peaks are stiff and glossy.

To Assemble Pie

1 With a teaspoon, place meringue in mounds all the way around the outer edge of the pie where the filling meets the crust to form a seal. This will prevent the meringue from pulling away from the crust when baking.

2 Pile remaining meringue in center and spread it to cover the entire surface of the pie. Using the back of your spoon, form decorative swirls and peaks across the pie.

3 Bake 12–15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure the bottom of pie is at room temperature before slicing. Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator.

Serves 8


Excerpted from Meringue by by Linda K. Jackson & Jennifer Evans Gardner. Copyright © 2012. Photography by Alexandra Defurio. Excerpted with permission from Gibbs Smith. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Recipe: Mom's sky-high lemon meringue pie