Citrus flavors are favorites in dessert items, from scones to tea bread to pie. The classic lemon meringue pie is always in style, and now that good quality citrus is always available, this dessert doesn't need to be relegated to the winter or early spring table.
Lemon pie begins with a custard made with egg yolks and lemon juice. However, to really bring this pie to life, a full tablespoon of lemon zest is added to the custard, and 1/8 teaspoon of lemon essential oil is also added. Essential oils can be purchased at where candy-making or cake decorating ingredients are sold.
A little of the oil goes a long way, and these oils retain their strength even when added to hot liquids. Finally, each slice of the pie is decorated with a sliver of dried lemon. This ingredient can be purchased online in one pound packages and used for a variety of decorating and baking needs.
Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
1 9" pie crust, baked
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 c. corn starch
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp. dried lemon peel
1/8 tsp. lemon oil
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make filling: in large saucepan, whisk together corn starch, granulated sugar and salt. Stir in water and lemon juice. Place on medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Slightly beat the egg yolks with a whisk. Add a few tablespoons of the hot liquid to the yolks and whisk in, then add the yolks to the hot liquid. Bring back to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally, and heat for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat; stir in butter and lemon oil. Spread hot filling into baked pie shell.
Make meringue topping using the Basic Meringue instructions, but using 4 egg whites, 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/2 c. granulated sugar. Spread meringue over hot filling, making sure to seal the meringue against the pie crust.
Bake in 400 degree oven 15 - 20 minutes or until meringue is slightly browned. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serves 6 - 8.
Want to make a "light" version? Ditch the pastry crust and use the meringue for the pie shell. Do this by lining a 9" pie pan with parchment paper and coating it with an even layer of meringue. Bake in 250 degree oven for 35 minutes, then turn the oven off, leaving the shell in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour. This helps the meringue to solidify.
After the meringue shell is prepared, fill with lemon custard. Top with dried lemon slices and refrigerate for several hours before serving.