Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
This perfect lemon meringue pie not only looks amazing but also tastes incredible! With a delicious homemade pie crust, tart and smooth lemon filling, and a fluffy toasted meringue topping. It’s topped with a ridiculous amount of fluffy and creamy meringue, making it the ultimate statement dessert!
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie
Pie Crust- Always chill your pie dough prior to rolling it out. You want to partially blind bake the crust because it will continue to bake when you bake the assembled lemon meringue pie.
Filling- This lemon filling is a slightly firmer version of pudding, but not as firm as jello. By tempering the egg yolks you will create a silky, creamy, and stable filling.
Meringue- We use a French meringue. Beat egg whites into soft peaks, add sugar, then beat into stiff peaks. Make sure you begin with just egg whites. Not even a drop of egg yolks. Make sure the bowl you’re using is completely wiped clean. No oil or water residue. Make sure you add cream of tartar. This will stabilize your meringue. Make sure you add the sugar *after* soft peaks are formed. If added before that, the egg whites could stretch too much which prevents a stiff peak altogether. Make sure you spread the meringue topping so it touches the warm pie crust. This seals the lemon filling underneath and allows the crust to grip onto the meringue so the two do not separate. And, finally, don’t make lemon meringue pie on a humid day.
Tips to Make a No-Fail Meringue
Make sure you spread the meringue topping on while the filling is still warm. The warm filling helps seal the two layers together, preventing separation.
- Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature before starting the meringue. Room temperature egg whites whip faster than cold egg whites and whip into a greater volume.
- You need 5 egg yolks for the lemon filling and 5 egg whites for the meringue topping. Separate the 5 eggs while they are cold. (Cold eggs separate easier! Remember NO egg yolks in the meringue, not even a smidge.) Leave the egg whites out on the counter. Blind bake the pie crust and prepare the lemon filling. By the time you’re ready to start the meringue, the egg whites will be room temperature.
How to Blind Bake Pie Crust
A partially blind-baked pie crust will help keep the bottom pie crust from becoming soggy. When you add very wet fillings like quiche fillings or even some fruit fillings, the bottom pie crust can become over-saturated and “soggy”. Partially blind baking the bottom crust can help prevent that. When it comes to custard pies and lemon meringue pies, the filling is cooked separately from the crust. In cases like that, you’d want to fully blind bake your pie crust. Meaning, you completely cook the crust without any filling.
If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, you want to fully bake it. If your pie recipe calls for a partially baked pie shell then you will typically include “pre-baking” or “partially baking” the crust. Whether you’re fully blind baking or partially blind baking pie crust, the process is exactly the same; it’s the bake time that differs.
Partially baking will take 20 minutes. A fully cooked blind-baked pie crust will take 30-40 minutes.
If you’re using a store-bought crust or frozen crust, check the packaging for instructions.
Tips on Blind Baking Pie Crust
As the pie dough bakes, the fat melts and this causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. When the fat melts it will also cause steam which is what gives the delicious flakey layers. The steam will also cause your pie dough to puff up because you don't have any filling in the pie crust weighing it down.
In order to keep the pie dough from puffing up: weigh down the pie crust with something so it doesn’t puff up in the center or shrink down the sides. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then add some weight. You can purchase special pie weights or you can use dry beans.
Since it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t really cook. That’s an easy fix. Once the crust is brown around the edges, carefully remove the parchment paper + weights, then let the crust cook a little longer on its own. Prick holes all over the bottom of the pie crust to allow steam to escape and keep it from puffing up. Pricking holes in the pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust. Brush the bottom of the pie crust with an egg wash (egg and a little water) after docking it and place in the oven to either fully or partially blind bake.
PREVENT THE SIDES FROM SHRINKING DOWN
- Chill the pie dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before blind baking
- Make sure you create a thick crust on the sides
HOW DO I BLIND BAKE MY PIE CRUST
- fully baked pie crust- roll out your chilled pie dough and place it into a pie dish. Be sure to create thick sides and flute it. Line the bottom of the pie with parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans on top of the parchment paper. Be sure to cover the entire bottom of the pie. Bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights or dried beans and the parchment paper. Next, dock your pie crust by pricking holes with a fork all over the bottom of the pie crust. Brush an egg wash all over the bottom of the pie crust to seal it. (Egg wash is simply 1 egg and a little water) Place back into the oven for an additional 10-20 minutes or until the pie crust is set and slightly browned.
- partially baked pie crust (like if you’re baking the pie crust once it is filled like a quiche or a pumpkin pie) roll out your chilled pie dough and place it into a pie dish. Be sure to create thick sides and flute it. Line the bottom of the pie with parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans on top of the parchment paper. Be sure to cover the entire bottom of the pie. Bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights or dried beans and the parchment paper.
- If you’re making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling. For pies that will go back in the oven, like quiche or pumpkin pie, the crust can still be warm when you add the filling.