A Recipe to Stay in for: Lemon Meringue Pie

Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, squash and yams– it must be Thanksgiving.  What better day to stay in and have a wonderful home-cooked meal with family and friends.  Of course, no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without the traditional pumpkin pie, but here’s a great recipe for those looking to add a different flavor that still works with the color scheme of yellows, reds, oranges and browns.

Lemon meringue pie is a tasty treat that accompanies pumpkin pie, or can be served on its own.  This year, surprise your family and friends with a new end to Thanksgiving that they are sure to enjoy.  This wonderful pie could feed anywhere from eight to 12 people depending on your serving slice.

What you will need:

  • 1 small package of Jell-O lemon pudding
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 or 4 eggs (just the whites, no yoke)
  • ¼ teaspoon of cream of tarter
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 pie crust (or if making and instant crust I package of pie crust)

How to prepare the pie:

If you choose to uby an already pre-made crust skip this step. Begin by preparing your pie crust by following the directions on the back of the box.  After you have prepared the pie crust, you can add in the sesame seeds if you choose, for added flavor.  Make sure if you add the sesame seeds that they are well dispersed throughout the entire crust.  Place crust in a 9-inch circle pie plate (or size that you have available) and bake at 375 until the crust becomes lightly browned or fully cooked.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Thoroughly wash the lemon and dry completely.  Grate the rind of the entire lemon and set aside.  Prepare the lemon pudding as the directions on the back of the Jell-O box state.  While the pudding is still hot, add butter, lemon juice and the grated rind of the lemon.  Make sure that the mixture is mixed well before removing from stove.

Once the pudding has cooled for a few minutes, pour the mixture over the crust evenly.  Do not cook the pudding and crust mixture alone!

To make the meringue, you must be very careful with the delicate egg whites.  Depending on how much meringue you would like (some people like a high fluffy pie while others prefer a lower level of meringue) separate the egg whites from the yoke of the eggs.  (You will not need the yokes, so feel free to use them in whatever other way you may need.)

Begin by beating the egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer on medium and gradually increase to high as you add the sugar.  Please note: if you are using four eggs for a fuller meringue you will have to add an extra teaspoon of sugar. Continue to beat egg whites on high as the sugar is added gradually.

Once the mixture begins to thicken and peaks, add the cream of tarter by sprinkling it over the entire mixture.  Do not over-beat your meringue!  Once the cream of tarter is added and the mixture is thick and fluffy, stop beating.

Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon pudding mixture that has already begun to settle in the pie crust.  Try to add small peaks for a whipped effect to the meringue as you spoon it into the pie crust.

Bake at 375 until the meringue is a very light golden brown.  Make sure the meringue is fully cooked by testing its firmness and remove the pie from the oven.  It will not take long for the meringue to cook (5-10 minutes) so be very careful about leaving the pie in the oven – keep watch.

Helpful tip:  Try to have your pie cool for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator or other cool area of the house to ensure the pie is firm and not a warm mess when cut.  The longer you have for the pie to chill the firmer it will be when served.

The entire pie may take around 30 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Food For Thought is a NEast restaurant review column written by Donna Ward that runs every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See all of Donna’s reviews here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

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