Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie for Pi Day!

*Correction March 14th -I fixed the spelling for meringue!  The merengue is a dance…yeah I meant to do that 😉  

Pie.  Pye.  Pai.  Pi.  3.14.

PIE!!!!!

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Yes—March 14 = 3/14 = the same digits as pi.

“Pi: The symbol used by mathematicians to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is the lowercase Greek letter π, sometimes spelled out as pi.”

So, in honor of ‘pi day, (yes, there’s a whole day to celebrate this number, as well as Twitter hashtags galore) I’ve decided to release to you the ever delicious and classic Lemon Meringue Pie that I had such fun making.  I know you will too!  With a few tips of course.

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Meringue is created when you beat the hell out of egg whites (along with cream of tartar and sugar)  Yes I said hell.  Oops.  Don’t sue me…

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A few things to remember however, when you do this:

  1.  Separate your eggs — If you’re no good at separating yolks and whites out of the shell on your own, use a nifty little device such as this egg separator– it will help! Also, some people swear by separating them when they’re cold, then let them sit.
  2. Let the whites sit at room temperature.   A lot of recipes call for room temp eggs.  Just get them out first and set them on the counter or on top of your preheating oven while you’re preparing and mixing everything else.  Twenty to thirty minutes should do.
  3. If you live in a humid area, you may have a problem with the meringue not being on its tippy toes, but this depends wildly on many variables.
  4. Practice, practice, practice!  There isn’t really a perfect meringue until you know what you like– but here are a few great resources that may give you better advice as to how to achieve the best meringue possible!  Try here for a written article on the personal account of a Kentucky baker, or here for general advice from Better Homes and Gardens.

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Now, the recipe was adapted from the back of a Lucky Leaf brand can of lemon pie filling.  (Wow, that was a mouthful)

PS:  Thank you to my neighbor for letting me use her beautiful roses in this photo shoot!

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You will need: 

A food processor

A 9″ pie pan – (I used a fun metal vintage one I found at Goodwill)

Aluminum foil

An electric mixer with two beaters

Two large mixing bowls- preferably not plastic

Wooden Spoon

A medium saucepan

Silicone or metal whisk

A baking sheet to guard overspills

Ingredients: 

Graham Cracker Crust : 
  • 9 graham crackers— honey or cinnamon
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Meringue: 
  • 6 egg whites  (save the yolks!!!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Pie Filling: 
  • 1 can Lucky Leaf lemon pie filling
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used almond milk–I bet coconut milk would be awesome, too!)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
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Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350º F 

*Grease and flour your pie pan! 

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Begin by making the graham cracker crust.  

  1. Break up graham crackers and set them in the food processor.  Pulse until you have course crumbs.
  2. Add the oats, sugar and salt and pulse a few more times until the texture becomes more fine.
  3. Gradually pour in the melted butter a little at a time and pulse to incorporate.
  4. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and pulse a few more time.  Done!
  5. Press the mix into a 9″ pie plate/pan and cover the edges of the crust with foil.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes so it sets.
  7. Remove and cool in the fridge or freezer.  Or set on wire rack to cool.

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Next, prepare the meringue. 

  1. Using your electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl until they are foamy.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the mixture forms soft peaks.
  3. Mix in the sugar and cornstarch a little at a time and beat until the peaks become stiff.
  4. Set aside

The filling comes last. 

  1. In your saucepan combine all of the filling ingredients and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  2. Continue to whisk over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  3. Use your wooden spoon to test the thickness.  If it coats the spoon, then it’s ready!
  4. Remove from heat and spoon into the graham cracker crust immediately.

Can I eat this yet? …

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Give the meringue one more whip and using a spoon, top the mixture in the center of the pie.  Smooth the meringue to the edges and use your spoon to lift the meringue up, forming peaks.  You can get creative here.  Have fun with it!

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I love this part!

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Such a blast–and an opportunity to play with your food!

Place pie in oven, one rack above a cookie sheet incase of overflow, and bake for 12 minutes or until the meringue begins to brown.  

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Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve!  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Freeze for one hour.

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Serve with iced tea, lemonade, coffee, or a refreshing glass of milk perhaps!
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And be sure to share your pictures, questions, and comments with me!

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-K


6 thoughts on “Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie for Pi Day!

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