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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
For easy slicing, dip a knife in warm water and let the excess water drip off before cutting a slice of pie. Do this before cutting each slice.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut
      into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. ice water, or as needed

For the lemon curd:

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter,
      cut into 1-inch pieces

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:

To make the pastry, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse once to mix. Add the butter and shortening and process in short pulses to form pea-size crumbs, 20 to 25 seconds. While pulsing, gradually add the water to form larger, moist crumbs, 10 seconds more. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, shape the mixture into a flat disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

To make the lemon curd, in the top pan of a double boiler or in a nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, milk and salt until blended. Then whisk in the lemon juice. Set the top pan over the bottom pan of simmering water but not touching the water, or set the saucepan over medium-low heat. (If using a saucepan, take care not to heat the mixture too quickly.) Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or spoon, until the mixture is warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Begin adding the butter a little at a time, stirring each addition until blended before adding more. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until a finger drawn across the back of the spatula leaves a path, 8 to 10 minutes more. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Pass the curd through a chinois set over a nonreactive bowl and cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish, fit the dough into the dish and trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges.

Line the bottom of the pie shell with parchment paper and fill the center with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and weights. Continue baking until the pastry is golden and flaky, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350°F. Pour the curd into the pie shell. Bake until the curd is set around the edges but still a little loose in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the meringue: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar, 1 Tbs. at a time, beating on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes more.

Spread the meringue over the hot pie filling to the edges of the pastry to seal and prevent shrinkage. Bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Dip a knife in warm water to cut slices.
Serves 8.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.