What to Make for Easter – DESSERT Edition: Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie
Every spring my mother-in-law – who lives in Scottsdale – sends a giant box of lemons from her lemon tree. I ooh and aaah over them. And then I make a list of everything I can’t wait to make with them. I don’t know what it is, but the flavor is ten times better than anything I can buy up here in Washington!
Without fail, my husband requests lemon meringue pie. Sometimes – like this year – we made it twice over the course of our giant box of lemons. Spring time and this mile-high lemon meringue pie have become synonymous for me.
Lemon meringue pie is another make-ahead dessert that would be perfect for your Easter festivities!! This version is extra lemony with a MOUNTAIN of meringue topping inside a buttery-flaky crust. I’ve had lots of practice tweaking this recipe to what it is today. Now, its the best darn lemon meringue pie I have ever had! And since its a family favorite, I feel quite qualified to make that assessment.
So, pile that meringue extra high! This one’s a keeper;)
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. cold water
- 1 tbsp. vodka, chilled (or water)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 4 large room temperature egg whites
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tatar
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add butter and work into dry ingredients with a pastry spatula or potato masher until pea sized clumps form. Then drizzle in apple cider vinegar, vodka, and water. Continue mixing in the same manner until dough just barely holds together
On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a large disk. Lightly dust disk and rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough until it is roughly 1/8" thick and large enough in diameter to overhang the edges of a pie plate. Pinch edges of crust and use a fork to prick holes in the bottom of the crust. Line with parchment and bake with pie weights for 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven and set aside.
To make the filling, whisk to combine sugar and cornstarch. Add lemon juice and cold water to a medium sauce pan, then whisking in sugar mixture to combine. Add salt and egg yolks. Whisk to combine. Then slowly add boiling water in a steady stream while whisking constantly. Add butter and set over medium high heat stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce temperature to medium low and continue stirring constantly until mixture thickens (about 1 minute). Stir in lemon zest and pour filling into the pre-baked crust.
To make meringue topping, beat egg whites in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and add sugar in a steady stream. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and beat just to incorporate.
Carefully spoon meringue over the top of hot lemon filling along the edge of the pie first. Make sure that the meringue touches the crust! Otherwise after it bakes and you begin to slice the pie, the meringue topping might slide right off the lemon filling! Connecting it to the crust helps to anchor the meringue topping. Once all meringue topping has been spooned onto the pie, return pie to the oven for 18-20 additional minutes.
Remove from oven and allow pie to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours then refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is preferred. Then slice and serve. (Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.)
Total time includes room temperature cooling time of 1 hour and the minimum chilling time of 4 hours (although, an overnight chill is recommended).