The secret to this amazingly easy lemon meringue pie is to use sour cream to make a forgiving pie dough that bakes into a flaky pie crust.
Chef's Tip: I like to use a large pie dough recipe like this one in order to have frozen dough for future baking.
Pie Crust (Makes 3 pies)
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1¾ cups unsalted butter, cold, diced
- 2/3 cup ice water
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
Foolproof Lemon Filling (Makes 1 pie)
- 6 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1½ cups water
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¼ sticks butter
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
Meringue Topping (Makes 1 pie)
- 6 egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
For the pie crust:
1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into tiny chunks about the size of a pea, then add to dry mix.
2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk water, sour cream and vinegar. Once whisked, add to flour mixture all at once. Quickly mix in liquids with flour mix.
3. Make sure dough is slightly crumbly. Divide dough into 3 even portions. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight is best. Gently knead dough by hand. Do not over work dough. Pie dough should look loose and flaky. Reserve ⅔ portion for later use. You can refrigerate dough for 2 to 3 days or freeze the dough for up to a month.
4. In a 9-inch pie pan, press dough out, trying to make crust as even as possible.
5. Over each pie crust, place a piece of parchment/wax paper lining each crust. Fill the center of each crust with dry beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes, or until you see the exterior of the crust golden brown. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and return crusts to oven for about 5 minutes to get color on interior of molds. Remove mold from oven, pull pie weights and proceed making remaining ingredients.
For the lemon filling:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Place the egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Then turn stove top on medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, making sure to stir frequently, and allow it to boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. For the next step, I need you to be super careful and all attention on board. Remove the sugar and water mixture from the heat and gradually add the hot mixture to the egg yolks and stir until you have incorporated both together and it's a smooth mixture. Then return the egg-sugar-water mixture to the same saucepan and turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 more minutes.
4. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice and zest until well combined. This may look broken, but just keep stirring until everything is beautiful and incorporated.
5. Then my favorite part is to pour this amazing mixture into the pie shell and proceed to make the meringue.
For the meringue:
1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can also do this by hand, but make sure to have the kids help because it can take a while. You want to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. The stiffer the better for an amazing meringue pie crust.
2. Then take your meringue and top lemon filling that's already in the pie shell, you want to make sure to top with meringue while filling is still hot, it helps to stick together better. Also, make sure the meringue completely covers the filling and make sure that it goes right up to the edge of the crust.
3. Bake the pie for 8 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Everyone's oven is different, so just watch it. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack or in your fridge, just make sure the pie is cooled completely before slicing and eating.