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Food

Pie r Round: Lemon Meringue Pie

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Photo by Elise Thompson. Pies by Dee Thompson

Some pies are traditional for Christmas -- like pumpkin, pecan and mincemeat. Why not try something new this year? The bright tartness of a traditional lemon meringue pie can bring a litle sunshine to the holiday table and really wake up the palate.

Fresh-squeezed lemon makes all the difference in the recipe. Some people are intimidated by meringue but if you follow one rule you can't go wrong. Make sure the meringue touches the pie crust all the way around to prevent weeping. This recipe originated in the LA Times and comes from my mother, the pie-baking champ of Redondo Beach!

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Recipe after the jump!

FILLING:

7 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. gradually add the boiling water and stir until blended.

Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until it boils and the mixture is clear and has thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. pour the filling into the top of a double boiler or into a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks and return all to the pan, stirring until blended. cook 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat. stir in the lemon juice, butter, and lemon zest. place plastic wrap on top of the filling and cool to room temperature.

Pour the filling into the baked pie shell, spreading it evenly.

CRUST:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp cold butter, cut up
3 tablespoons ice water

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Mix this together, let the dough chill for 30 minutes, heat oven to 475, put parchment paper and weights on the center of the pie dish on top of the crust and bake about 15 minutes. remove parchment paper and pie weights and then bake another 3 to 5 minutes. cool to room temperature

MERINGUE AND ASSEMBLY:

4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. continue beating until soft peaks form.

Slowly add the sugar beating until the mixture is stiff but not dry

Spoon the meringue onto the pie filling/ spread and swirl the meringue over the filling (elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wrist) sealing to the edges of the pie

Bake at 400 degrees until the meringue peaks are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. cool to room temperature.