Updated: May 29
Thirty-eight years ago, I received a Betty Crocker Cookbook as a wedding gift. Over the years I have poured over the pages of this book many times (as you can see by the shabby condition it’s in) and have discovered some family favorites, one of which is the Lemon Meringue Pie. This is a simple pie to make, as instructions go, but the trick, and the part that will really trip you up if you don’t do it, is to get EVERYTHING ready BEFORE you begin. The French call this “mis en place” or “to put in place”. As you begin the recipe, the procedure is simple but when things begin to happen, they happen quickly, so pausing to separate eggs for example, or zest a lemon is out of the question. There is simply no time. The results, however, are divine and well worth every bit of effort. The Lime Meringue variation is even better! Thank you, Betty Crocker for many delicious years!
1 1/4 C SUGAR
1/3 C PLUS 1 TBSP CORNSTARCH
1 1/2 C WATER
3 EGG YOLKS, BEATEN, AND PLACED IN A MEDIUM SIZE BOWL
3 TBSP BUTTER
1/2 C FRESH LEMON JUICE
2-3 TSP GRATED LEMON PEEL
9" BAKED PIE SHELL
HEAT OVEN TO 425°. MIX SUGAR AND CORNSTARCH IN A SAUCEPAN. STIR IN WATER UNTIL SUGAR IS DISSOLVED. COOK OVER MEDIUM HEAT, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, UNTIL MIXTURE THICKENS AND BEGINS TO BOIL. BOIL AND STIR 1 MINUTE (SET A TIMER). GRADUALLY STIR HALF OF THE HOT MIXTURE INTO THE BOWL WITH THE BEATEN EGG YOLKS, THEN ADD EVERYTHING BACK INTO THE SAUCEPAN. BOIL AND STIR 1 MINUTE. REMOVE FROM HEAT. AND ADD BUTTER AND STIR UNTIL MELTED. STIR IN LEMON PEEL AND JUICE UNTIL MIXTURE IS WELL BLENDED. POUR INTO BAKED PIE SHELL. WORKING QUICKLY, PREPARE MERINGUE SO YOU CAN SPOON IT OVER THE FILLING WHILE ITS STILL HOT. SPREAD THE MERINGUE TO THE EDGES TO SEAL IT TO THE CRUST TO PREVENT SHRINKING. BAKE UNTIL NICELY BROWNED BUT PEAKS OF MERINGUE AREN'T BURNED (WATCH CLOSELY, ABOUT 10 MINUTES).
3 EGG WHITES
1/4 TSP CREAM OF TARTAR
1 TSP CORN STARCH
6 TBSP SUGAR
1/2 TSP VANILLA
BEAT EGG WHITES AND CREAM OF TARTAR UNTIL FOAMY. ADD CORN STARCH AND BEAT IN SUGAR, 1 TBSP AT A TIME UNTIL THE MIXTURE IS STIFF AND GLOSSY. DO NOT UNDERBEAT. MIX IN VANILLA. SPOON OVER HOT PIE FILLING CREATING PEAKS WITH THE BACK OF THE SPOON. BAKE @ 425° FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES
LIME MERINGUE PIE VARIATION
DECREASE CORNSTARCH TO 1/3 CUP AND OMIT BUTTER. SUBSTITUTE LIME PEEL FOR THE LEMON PEEL, AND 1/4 CUP LIME JUICE IN PLACE OF THE LEMON JUICE.
YOU KNOW ITS A FAMILY FAVORITE WHEN THE PAGE LOOKS LIKE THIS!!
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM THE BETTY CROCKER'S COOKBOOK 1980 EDITION