My Mom has been making this pie for as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately, I have no idea where it originated. If I did know, I would send them a Thank You note, because this is absolutely my all time favorite! I don’t know why I never bust out with one of these during the summer. I seem to only make pies around the holidays. I love this one so much it’s hard to contemplate veering away from it, but I really need to try it with orange or key lime sometime.
4 egg whites
1/4 scant t cream of tartar
1 c sifted powdered sugar
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 c sugar
3 T lemon juice
3 T lemon zest
1/8 t salt
1 c whipping cream
Preheat oven to 275 and lightly butter pie plate. We love this pie so much that I started automatically doubling the filling. If you’re using bigger than a 10″ plate, you might want to increase the meringue as well. I was using an 11″ this time, so I increased it by half, but ended up with more than I needed. I was afraid it would be too skimpy since it does shrink a little as it sits.
MERINGUE: Sift the powdered sugar. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in the fridge (covered) until you’re ready to make the filling. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, then gradually add the sifted powdered sugar until stiff peaks form again.
Line the buttered pie plate with the meringue, using a spatula to push it up the sides, forming a shell. You want the center to be shallower so you have room for the filling. Bake for about an hour until nicely browned, then allow to cool on a rack.
FILLING: Stirring frequently, blend the yolks, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt in the top of a double boiler until thick. You can see my fancy double boiler – a Pyrex bowl set over a simmering pot of water. You can tell it’s getting thick when you run your spatula through the mixture and the trail stays for a second before filling itself in again. I always add extra lemon juice (and/or zest and/or extract) toward the end. Remove from heat and let cool.
When the yolk mixture is cool, whip the cream, then gently fold the two together, and fill the pie shell.
Chill until set, then cover loosely with waxed paper until ready to serve, at which time, you can garnish with whatever you like – blueberries, blackberries, kiwi slices, strawberries, etc. I also add a little extra zest at that point as well. Heck if you’re making a lemon pie, you can’t have too much lemon!