Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon meringue pie

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! Due to postponing December’s challenge until last minute and then catching a really bad cold on the day for publishing, I didn’t manage to bake the yule log that everyone was supposed to bake. But it feels good to have done the first challenge of 2008. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 28th of January.

This month’s challenge was to bake a lemon meringue pie from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, and the recipe was picked by Jen from The Canadian Baker. I like lemon meringue pie but in the past, when I was around 14 years old, me and my mother took turns in making it once a week and gradually we got tired of our favourite pie. So these small lemon meringue pies were the first since then and it was like meeting an old friend again. I love the tart lemon filling and the crispy crust, and between the bites I asked myself how I could have neglected this lovely pie for such a long time.

The pie is very sweet, but the sweetness is balanced a bit thanks to the tartness of the lemons. It was nice to try a new recipe for lemon meringue pie and I had no problems what so ever, even though I just as usual waited with the challenge until the last minute. Both the filling and meringue came out perfect, however I must admit that I didn’t follow the recipe completely as I decided to cover the lemon filling while it was still warm. I’m not sure if that really matters, but it didn’t feel like a good idea to put the meringue on a cold filling as I thought that the bottom of the meringue would take longer time to cook. I choose to make 6 small pies instead of one large as the pie can get a bit messy after cutting it. But I felt that the servings were too big, so I would recommend to do more and smaller pies if you want to do individual ones.

Edit: The pies were perfect even on the day after baking. I kept them in the fridge, but completely uncovered. The meringue and filling were still perfect without any liquid, and the crust was great as well. The meringue didn’t sweat at all.

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6 small ones.
    Recipe from: Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver.

    For the Crust:
    3/4 cup (170 gram) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
    2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

    For the Filling:
    2 cups (475 mL) water
    1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
    5 egg yolks, beaten
    1/4 cup (50 gram) butter
    3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
    1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

    For the Meringue:
    5 egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
    3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

    To Make the Crust:
    Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

    Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling. [I have a convection oven and baked the crusts in 175ºC.]

    To Make the Filling:
    Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature. [I didn't let the filling cool, but did the meringue and covered the pies directly]

    To Make the Meringue:
    Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust. [Here I did a misstake, I forgot to change the oven temperature so I baked them in 175ºC for 15 minutes. But the result was great.]

86 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie”

  1. sunita
    January 28th, 2008 12:34

    Your pies are really cute..glad you could join in this time :-)

  2. Anne
    January 28th, 2008 12:40

    That looks absolutely lovely! :)

  3. Aparna
    January 28th, 2008 12:53

    Really nice LMP. I agree about the smaller pies, but this was my first challenge and I was scared to experiment at all.

  4. Rosa
    January 28th, 2008 12:54

    Your tartlets look great and scrumptious!



  5. myriam
    January 28th, 2008 13:43

    oh they look divine!

  6. Pille
    January 28th, 2008 13:56

    They’re very pretty, Dagmar, look like small spiky hedgehogs :)

  7. Babeth
    January 28th, 2008 14:04

    look lovely!
    congratulations my “daring friend” ;-)

  8. Speculoos
    January 28th, 2008 15:28

    They’re so cute ! Good job ;)

  9. 100%Gourmande
    January 28th, 2008 16:13

    Mum ça m ‘a l ‘air délicieux !!!
    J ‘adore les tartes au citron

  10. Angela
    January 28th, 2008 16:23

    What gorgeous little pies! And the filling looks perfect–just the right amount of wobble….

  11. Tablebread
    January 28th, 2008 16:27

    Oh my! Your little tarts came out beautifully! Great job!

  12. megan
    January 28th, 2008 17:03

    I love your little pies! Good challange.

  13. Madam Chow
    January 28th, 2008 17:09

    Your tarts are lovely! I learned over the years to put the meringue on a HOT filling as you did – it reduces the amount of “weeping.” That’s the liquid that some Daring Bakers describe.

  14. Michelle
    January 28th, 2008 17:22

    Such lovely little pies! Great job with the challenge!

  15. laurie
    January 28th, 2008 17:27

    Perfect! I love the little pies, they are sooo cute! Great job!

  16. Meeta
    January 28th, 2008 17:27

    Just spectacular Dagmar. They look like a piece of art! Nice job!

  17. April
    January 28th, 2008 17:37

    Your little tarts, look wonderful! I am so glad that your pie turned out perfect!

  18. Annemarie
    January 28th, 2008 17:40

    Lovely little pies you have! I really liked the filling too, and was very glad there was a bit left over in the pan that I coul attack with a spoon.

  19. Jerry
    January 28th, 2008 18:12

    I love the little ones and it is perfectly golden!

  20. courtney
    January 28th, 2008 18:31

    Great job. Glad you canmake this challenge.

  21. Ann
    January 28th, 2008 19:14

    Adorable tarts!

  22. Nemmie
    January 28th, 2008 19:19

    Your tarts look GREAT! Love it :)

  23. Molly
    January 28th, 2008 20:15

    Your little tarts are absolutely delightful. They look like the kind of tart you could serve to four people who don’t want to gain any more weight. I had cold filling, but I got very impatient waiting for the shell to cool, and I think I wouldn’t have waited if I wasn’t consciously trying to follow directions. But I did bake it at 325.

  24. Lesley
    January 28th, 2008 20:29

    They look lovely! My tartlets didn’t fare so well…

  25. the chocolate lady (eve)
    January 28th, 2008 21:04

    Breathtaking! My pies are in the oven right now! I can’t wait!

  26. Jessica
    January 28th, 2008 21:34

    Those are gorgeous!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  27. Tartelette
    January 28th, 2008 21:38

    Beautiful job! Happy to hear you had no problem at all!

  28. Dolores
    January 28th, 2008 21:40

    Getting reacquainted with an old friend… I love that analogy. And your mini pies are beautiful. Well done!

  29. simply
    January 28th, 2008 21:46

    I love your little pies. I shall try them the next time. Yes I also love making LMG’S They are so refreshing.

  30. iisha
    January 28th, 2008 21:56

    Great job. Looks great!

  31. Suzana
    January 28th, 2008 22:03

    Dagmar, those are beautiful tartlets! And the first photo – what a great shot! Just looking at it, I feel more motivated to give the LMP a second try. :)

  32. DaviMack
    January 28th, 2008 22:32

    Beautiful! And I’d agree that yours was the best approach: tarts seem, in retrospect, to have been the much better choice!

  33. desie the maybahay
    January 28th, 2008 22:34

    very cute mini-pies. i love the curly meringue bits.

    January 28th, 2008 23:10

    WOW, your meringue pies look lovely! great job!!

  35. Baking Soda
    January 28th, 2008 23:16

    I had the same experience Dagmar, mine kept amazingly well!
    Great job!

  36. Bev
    January 28th, 2008 23:23

    What beautiful pies!

  37. katy
    January 28th, 2008 23:24


  38. Deborah
    January 28th, 2008 23:26

    My pies were fine the day after, as well. In fact, the lemon filling and meringue were better the next day, in my opinion, even though the crust was a little soggy. Your pies look wonderful!

  39. Liska
    January 28th, 2008 23:45

    Śliczne zdjęcie!

  40. kellypea
    January 28th, 2008 23:51

    I love the classic look of your meringue — very pretty. It sounds like you had quite a bit of practice growing up — but how fun to cook with your mom! As far as chilling the pie goes, I agree. So many recipes seem to differ on this. I left mine at room temp and things went fine — even this afternoon, they’re not weepy.

  41. Dhivya
    January 28th, 2008 23:58

    The tarts are so cute! I am not yet there to do experiments and the extra challenge!

  42. Mary
    January 29th, 2008 00:20

    I love that tiny little wedge of pie on your fork. Your tarts are realy lovely!

  43. Tina
    January 29th, 2008 00:46

    fantastic tarts!! they are beautiful!

  44. DawnsRecipes
    January 29th, 2008 01:48

    They look great, and your photography is beautiful! Did you have a helper holding the fork for you?

  45. heather
    January 29th, 2008 02:31

    I love the little pies!

  46. Deeba
    January 29th, 2008 02:58

    Your pies are precious!! And the first picture is beautiful…you really look like you enjoyed this a lot! :0)

  47. Kim
    January 29th, 2008 03:46

    Absolutely adorable. I love the tart sized pies.

  48. Eva
    January 29th, 2008 05:20

    What a wonderful result! You got the perfect crust I could only dream of..;-)

  49. Tracy
    January 29th, 2008 05:51

    Your tartlets look wonderful. I didn’t have a lot of trouble with the recipe either. I’m glad to hear that they were still good the second day.

  50. Cherry
    January 29th, 2008 06:11

    Gorgeous pies! I used only about 3/4 of the sugar the recipe called for and it was just right. Hope you had fun with it =)

  51. Danielle
    January 29th, 2008 06:38

    I absolutely love the fluted tart pans. Great job!

  52. Big Boys Oven
    January 29th, 2008 08:24

    those LMP of yours looks so fantastic, can really make me salivating for them!

  53. Jess
    January 29th, 2008 08:38

    This looks absolutely perfect! What a beautiful meringue you did. Well done!

  54. Miss Ifi
    January 29th, 2008 08:39

    oh wow!!! those look just beautiful

  55. Ninabeth
    January 29th, 2008 16:31

    Your pies are so pretty! I think I may try tarts like that the next time I make this recipe.

  56. Mindy
    January 29th, 2008 16:34

    Yes- doing the first DB challenge of 08 feels great- think of all the great recipes…to come…

  57. Merav
    January 29th, 2008 18:12

    Your pies are beautiful! Well done for the first 08 challenge!

  58. Jenny
    January 29th, 2008 18:33

    Funny how some of us had not problems with weeping, and others had lots of problems. Odd.
    Nice to hear your pies came out well and they look so nice!

  59. Kaykat
    January 29th, 2008 19:11

    Those tartlets are so damn cute! Yay for a successful start to ’08.

  60. linda
    January 29th, 2008 21:43

    Your tartlets look very cute! I just a piece 2.5 days after baking and it was still not too soggy (even though mine did wheep)

  61. Candace
    January 29th, 2008 22:08

    Gorgeous! The browning of your meringue absolutely perfect!

  62. Louise (Gato Azul)
    January 29th, 2008 23:33

    Wonderful looking tartlets… Congrats

  63. Lynne
    January 30th, 2008 00:56

    Lovely lemon meringue tartlets!

  64. Ivonne
    January 30th, 2008 03:48

    They all look so beautiful! I’d have to eat them all just to be fair!


  65. rachel
    January 30th, 2008 06:09

    glad you could joi in this month..real cute tartlets..

    neat header…

  66. Lisa
    January 30th, 2008 07:33

    Nice tarts – good job!

  67. Chez Denise et Laudalino
    January 30th, 2008 07:35

    These are so cute!!!

  68. Shandy
    January 30th, 2008 08:44

    I know just what you mean about this LMP feeling like an old friend. I used to make this for my parents along with a chocolate meringue pie when I was a child at home. I am glad that this was chosen for the challenge.
    Your tartlettes are beautiful! Picture perfect and you enjoyed making them too! Definitely a bonus! =D
    Shandy@ Pastry Heaven

  69. Jane
    January 30th, 2008 09:02

    Hi Dagmar,
    Yes, starting out with a successful January challenge feels very good. Hopefully it will portend a good DB year!
    I agree, the 6 tartlets made for rather large portions, although DH might have something else to say about that. :-)
    Jane of VeganBits.com

  70. Naomi
    January 30th, 2008 12:25

    Those tarts look fantastic!

  71. Dharm
    January 30th, 2008 13:53

    Way to go Dagmar! Your tarts/pies look just lovely!! Great job and well done again!!

  72. Sheltie Girl
    January 30th, 2008 16:09

    Your tarts are simply lovely. Great job!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  73. breadchick
    January 30th, 2008 16:49

    Welcome back to DB and to an “old friend” recipe! Glad you did so well this month. The tarts look perfect.

  74. johanna
    January 31st, 2008 11:58

    great pictures, dagmar… you did a wondeful job!

  75. Jen Yu
    January 31st, 2008 18:26

    Those tarts are to die for, they look like perfection! Great job on your DB challenge :)

  76. Cheryl
    February 1st, 2008 16:53

    I love the curly tips of your meringue and the picture of the bite of pie is just perfect, I can never get that shot right.

  77. MyKitchenInHalfCups
    February 2nd, 2008 12:02

    Beautiful tarts.
    Interesting how we got so many results.
    I tried half mine on hot filling and half on cold, made no difference.

  78. Jessica
    February 2nd, 2008 18:19

    Your LMP looks wonderful! It must have been nice to see an old familiar favorite!

  79. african vanielje
    February 2nd, 2008 21:27

    Dagmar, I’ve been so bad about bloggin recently and it’s so long since I visited, but I was greeted by your truly gorgeous little tarts, swirling around like zesty ballerinas, They’re beautiful.

  80. Dagmar
    February 5th, 2008 00:30

    Thanks for all sweet compliments!!!!

    DawnsRecipes: No helper as my husmband was busy :-) I taped the fork on a cup that is outside of the photo… :-D

  81. hrabana
    February 9th, 2008 16:02

    I have been a lurker to your journal since Christmas holidays. But ever since I saw this pie here in your journal I knew I had to try it myself. Today was the day. The pie is delicious with just the right amount of sweetness to go along with the lemons. The filling reminds me of the lemon cream my mum cooked when I was a child. My cream is a bit on the liquid side since I have been sidetracked while doing it, so I have to prepare all ingredients before beginning next time. I think this will solve that problem.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe and your beautiful pictures.

  82. Linnea
    February 10th, 2008 19:15

    Underbart gott!

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