This is the dessert Sandy’s mom always made when her friend May made her annual winter visit. There’s no better way to use the abundance of citrus fruits on the market shelves this time of year. It’s more lemony than most, a treat for all the lemon lovers out there, and the perfect way to bring a little sunshine into a winter day.
- For this pie, we recommend our recipe for Basic Pie dough.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- 4 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the crust
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and then fit it into a 9-inch pie plate without stretching it, pressing the dough into the bottom and against the sides of the pan. With a pair of scissors or a paring knife, trim the dough to leave a 1-inch overhang around the edge. Fold the overhang in over the rim to make a double layer of dough and, with your fingers, crimp the dough all around. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking. (This helps to relax the dough and prevents it from shrinking once baked.)
To make the filling
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and keep at the ready for straining the filling. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, water lemon juice, cream and egg yolks. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 10-minutes, or until the mixture has consistency of honey. Strain and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line the pie shell with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and fill with pie weights or dried beans to weight the crust down. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil (or paper) and weights and bake 10 minutes longer, or until baked through crisp. Increase the oven temperature to 450ºF.
To make the meringue
In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time, add the sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, adding in the vanilla toward the end. Scoop the meringue onto the filling, making sure it covers the filling completely and is anchored to the crust. Use a spatula to make large swoops in the meringue. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is set and browned in spots. Let cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.