January Daring Bakers Challenge – Luscious Lemon Merengue Pie!

February 1, 2008

Lemon Meringue Pie

Mmm… Lemon Meringue… nothing is quite as tasty. This DB Challenge was full of firsts for me. I’ve never made my own pie crust (thanks to Pillsbury), I’ve never made my own filling (thanks to Jell-o), and I’ve never made meringue (because I never liked it when my mother made it growing up). So as far as challenges go, this was a big one!

I had some problems with my pie crust (no weights or beans). It liked to, sort of, slip down into the pie pan. This results in more of a pie crust flavored cookie at the bottom. Still quite tasty, but not the look I was going for!

The filling… Wow, but that was a lot of stirring, and of course I didn’t read ahead through the recipe and my lemon juice and zest were not ready, so as I’m frantically mixing, Karoline is frantically juicing/zesting so everything, hopefully, will be ready. It all worked out in the end, but, boy, we were in fast forward there for a bit!

The meringue… words cannot describe that joyous little mixture. I don’t know what my mother was making, but it definitely wasn’t this. Mmm…

In addition to the Lemon, we made a Key Lime version as well, just substituting the Lime for the Lemon. No other changes. It was super tart the night we made it, but mellowed out by the next morning and was super tasty!

slice close up

All in all, the challenge was a huge success! I aquired a new found love of meringue, and learned some new stuff! Thanks DBers!

And here’s a recipe for you!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

cup ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup butter

¾ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Daring Bakers Extra Challenge
Free-Style Lemon Tartlets

Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:

To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To bake the dough, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.

To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 425ºF.

Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.

Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks. Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

DB Logo Pink



  1. Lovely! – not even in the same food group as a jello pie, I bet the key lime version was awesome 🙂

  2. Great job on January’s challenge… congratulations!

  3. You did a lovely job on your lemon meringue pie!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  4. Glad you developed a new liking for meringue! Better late than never. Looks great!

  5. congrats on the challenge!

    i just joined the DB this month, just checking out everyone else’s blogs, wanted to say hello 🙂

  6. hahahahaaaaaa! Will you ever find out what your mom was making? 🙂

    Thanks so much for participating! As usual, you gals did a beautiful job!


  7. I tried making the meringue, but never stiffened up.
    I used omega 3 eggs, I wonder if that was the problem???

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