Lemon Meringue Pie should be creamy and tart, instead of gelatinous and too sweet, at least according to my tastes. Ja! I have been making this recipe for 20 years now! WOW, I can’t believe I said 20 years. It is inspired in a recipe from Gourmet Magazine April 1990. The original recipe calls for key limes, but the taste was too strong for some people (I like it!). So I have made some changes over the years to find the perfect balance between sweet and sour. Large yellow lemons work great for this recipe. This pie is also pretty easy to make. I like the fact that the crust is crumbly instead of like cardboard. Serve with a little raspberry coulis on the side if you can make it. I also make mini lemon meringue pies in a lined mini muffin pan (always a hit!). Place filling and meringue in piping bags to better handle the smaller portions. Also, you can use the filling to make mini lemon tartlets (use store bought tartlets). You can make the night before and store in the refrigerator. Here goes the recipe for one of my favorite desserts!
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 1/4 cup zweiback or graham crackers crumbs (about 9 honey graham crackers, 5 oz.)
2/3 cup almonds (ground fine in a food processor)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons )
zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 tablespoon)
3 egg whites (at room temperature)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup of sugar plus 2 tbsp
1. Put crackers and almonds in a food processor and finely ground them.
2. Transfer to a bowl and combine with sugar and cooled melted butter by folding with a spatula. It will resemble wet sand.
3. Press mixture into the bottom and sides of pie dish (9-10 inches). Bake the shell in middle rack of pre-heated oven at 350ºF for 10 minutes or until browned lightly. Let the shell cool on rack.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat yolks with condensed milk (I use an electric mixer in med-hi for about 2 minutes). Stir in the lemon juice a little at a time to combine filling well.
5. Spoon the filling into the shell, spreading evenly, and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
6. When 15 minutes are left in the fridge, pre-heat again oven at 350ºF. Beat egg whites with pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, beating, a tablespoon at a time until it holds stiff peaks. Spread the meringue over the filling and bake the pie in the middle of rack for 15 minutes, or until it is just golden. Chill pie for at least 2 hours and serve.