Lemon Meringue Birthday Love!

Ever since I was young, I’ve always asked for lemon meringue pie for my birthday instead of a regular birthday cake. Cake … I can take it or leave it. But pie – I love it!

There are so many versions of my beloved lemon meringue. And with so many recipes floating around, some get fancy with “lemon curd” as their filling – It’s not for me. Others masquerade as lemon meringue in grocery stores with florescent yellow fake filling – giving my fave a bad name!

My favorite recipe is just like my Mom used to make but with a few updated twists. The recipe uses fresh lemon juice and lovely yellow lemon zest, which really ups that delicious tartness we love in a citrus pie filling. The crust is speckled with chopped toasted hazelnuts … and I also like to indulge a little –it’s my birthday, why not?– and use lard in the pie crust. It makes it so much flakier and gives it that old fashioned flavor. A little corn starch in the filling helps it set just right for that picture perfect slice of pie when you cut into it. The lemony goodness then gets a layer of fresh raspberries – and all that gets topped with a cloud of fluffy meringue.

I so look forward to a big slice every May 19th! I know your mouths are watering, and mine is too – I can’t wait to have a slice! – Kathy

Enjoying a slice!

Kathy’s Birthday Lemon Meringue Pie with Fresh Raspberries

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp. butter
1 – 2 Tbsp. ice water

Filling & Meringue
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced lemon zest
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

To make the crust:
Mix the flour, hazelnuts, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add lard or shortening and butter and, with a pastry blender or clean hands, combine until mixture forms pea-sized particles.

Add 1 tablespoon of the ice water. Stir the dry mixture with a fork, mixing until liquid is just incorporated. If dough is too dry, then add more water, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.

Form dough into a ball and flatten out slightly to a big disk, fold over each side into the middle, so there are 3 layers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

After dough has chilled, press the portion into a flat round disk. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle that is about 1 inch larger all around than a 9-inch pie pan.

Place crust in pie pan and crimp the edges. Prick crust all over with a fork to prevent puffing while baking. (If pastry puffs, carefully reach in oven and prick pastry again where puffing.) Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown then remove from oven and cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, to make the filling:
In a heavy sauce pan whisk together 1 cup of the sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice until well combined and cornstarch is dissolved.

Place over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture is thickened and lightly simmering.

Mix together the egg yolks in a small bowl with a little of the hot mixture to temper the eggs, and whisk quickly into the simmering mixture. Cook about 1 more minute, stirring constantly, until totally thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon zest and butter.

Cool, stirring often. When filling has cooled slightly, pour into the cooked pie shell and arrange raspberries on the top.

To finish pie:
Make meringue by whipping the 4 reserved egg whites with cream of tartar in a mixer on medium high speed until frothy. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, a little at a time with mixer on high. Continue beating until stiff and glossy but not dry. Pile meringue on pie, sealing meringue onto edge of crust to prevent shrinking of the meringue.

Swirl with a spoon for a decorative, peaky top and bake in the 400-degree preheated oven for 6 – 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on a rack to cool.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on May 19th, 2011  |  Comments Off on Lemon Meringue Birthday Love! |  Posted in Uncategorized

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