Pie is as American as it gets.
I LOVE pie. I love to eat it, make it, bake it, create it, did I mention eat it? It doesn't get much better than pie. Cake is like the same thing bite after bite. I'm pretty fond of cookies, but you can get cookies anywhere. Eating pie is like going home for us Americans. An afternoon slice at grandmas, your fifth slice at Thanksgiving, the "eat it out of the pie tin" for the day- after-christmas-breakfast-slice, and of course the fourth of july slice. I seriously feel like I pull a Homer Simpson about donuts when it comes to, mmmm piiiiiie.
I love putting a decorative spin on pie classics. You can check out some other ones I have on my instagram. For this lemon meringue I filled about two pastry bags full of the meringue with a round tip attached. I piped on the decorations in a filigree-esk pattern. I also did a graham cracker crust instead of traditional pie dough. It creates more texture when you're making a more creamy/custard type of pie. For all of you craving warmer days and brighter flavors, this might be what you need to make it through your winter weekend.
Lemon Meringue Pie
for the crust
1 1/2 Cup of Ground Graham Crackers (12 crackers)
5 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
1 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
3 Tablspoons of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
for the lemon filling
4 Egg Yolks
1/3 Cup of Cornstarch
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 1/3 Cups of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup of Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Zest
3 Tablespoons of Butter
for the meringue topping
7 Egg Whites
1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Cream of TarTar/Meringue Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
adapted from Sir Alton Brown
You can pulse your graham crackers in a food processor, crush them in a plastic bag, or buy them pre ground in the baking isle of your grocery style (I bought them pre-ground and made my life easier). Mix your ground graham crackers, melted butter, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a bowl until well combined. Press this mixture firmly and evenly into a nine inch pie pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.
Zest and juice two lemons. This is about 1/2 cup of juice and a tablespoon of zest. Set these ingredients aside.
In a large bowl crack 4 eggs and separate the yolks. Reserve the whites in a separate mixing bowl for meringue.
In a small sauce pan bring cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt to a boil, whisking constantly for a smooth texture. Once the mixture is boiling, whisk for another minute. The mixture should be thick. Add in half of this warm mixture to your reserved egg yolks. Whisk the mixture and the yolks. This is called tempering.
If you were to add all the hot mixture to your egg yolks at once they would scramble! Whisk the second half of the warm mixture into the egg yolks and return to your sauce pan. On medium low heat continue to cook this mixture, whisking constantly for another 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, zest and butter until the butter is melted.
Pour warm pie filling into your baked graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the middle of the pie is set and no longer jiggles.
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer combined 7 egg whites, vanilla extract, salt, and cream of tar tar or meringue powder. With a whisking attachment on stand mixer or hand mixer begin to whip your egg whites at medium speed. Once the mixture becomes foamy add in a third cup of your sugar. Continue to mix for another two minutes at high speed and then add in another third of your sugar. Mix for another two minutes until reaching soft peeks in the meringue, add in the remaining sugar. Continue to mix for another 5-6 minutes until stiff peeks are reached. Total mixing time:
Top the pie with meringue with a piping bag or spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for another 10 minutes or until your meringue is browned. Let pie cool for 1-1/2 hours before serving. Best served chilled.
yeilds 8 generous slices