Food From Scratch

No-Fail Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

header image no-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a hopeful home

Nathan loves lemon meringue pie. Absolutely loves it. And I as his adoring wife challenged myself to master the perfect homemade lemon meringue pie. This proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Now nearly three years into our marriage, I have managed to compile a recipe that WORKS. Read on to find the recipe for a no-fail lemon meringue pie.


Back in the Netherlands, I wouldn’t say that lemon curd and lemon meringue pie are that popular. Apple pie, tompouce, cream pie, or flan are a bit more common. So when I found out that Nathan, my husband, really loves lemon meringue pie. Like, it is his favourite pie. I was determined that I wanted to master it.

That was easier said than done. The pie crust was never really a problem. It proved to be more tricky to get the lemon filling and the meringue right. It happened multiple times that the pie looked gorgeous but then completely fell apart when I cut it. Or the meringue turned out well the one time but not the other.

After testing multiple recipes and reading up on other people’s tips and tricks. I am so pleased to say that I managed to compile a recipe that works. Even for someone who actually isn’t a huge baker. I like to bake things like bread but you won’t find me baking a pie or cake very often. So of course, I HAD to share this recipe with you. And I am going to get super specific to make sure that you can succeed the very first time.

Before we head into the recipe, I’d like to say a big massive thank you to Simply Recipes. The lemon filling and meringue instructions have been adapted from their recipe and without it I wouldn’t have achieved to make that lovely sturdy lemon filling and immensely fluffy meringue.

Great thing is… lemon is currently in season! If you don’t have a clue when what’s in season, you might want to take a look at this free UK Seasonal Food Chart Printable. This is THE time to really enjoy lemon at its best and absorb all those wonderful nutritional benefits. Last week I shared the benefits of drinking lemon water (with a recipe), today I’m sharing this no-fail lemon meringue pie recipe, and next week I’ll be sharing my favourite lemon curd recipe. Let’s get started!

NO-FAIL LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Close up lemon meringue pie. No-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a hopeful home.

THE INGREDIENTS

Pie crust:

  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 160 grams unsalted butter (you want this to be cubed and cold)
  • 80 grams of light brown soft sugar
  • 1/2 whisked egg
  • pinch of salt

Lemon filling:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons cornflour
  • 266 grams white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 353 ml water
  • 118 ml lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Meringue:

  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 79 ml cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar OR 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 128 grams + 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

1. Ingredient preparation and baking the pie crust.

Finished pie crust. No-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a Hopeful Home.

Remove the 5 eggs (for the lemon filling and the meringue) from the fridge. Really do this first because you want the eggs to be able to reach room temperature before you need to use them. Eggs are easier to separate when they are still cold. So separate the egg yolks and whites into two separate bowls straight away. Also, make sure to measure the 79 ml of water into a bowl/measuring jug for the meringue and put it in the fridge to chill.

Prepare a (22 cm) pie dish by buttering the inside and by sprinkling it with some flour.

Add all of the ingredients for the pie crust to a bowl and mix them by hand. I believe that when you mix it by hand you can really get a feel for the texture of the dough. It will be very crumbly in the beginning. But after kneading a little while the butter will start to melt and the dough will start to hold together better. Once you feel that it starts to hold together without cracks (just about, you don’t want to knead the dough for too long or it will be hard to work with) it’s time to roll it out.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin and roll out your dough. You want to make sure to re-apply flour to the surface underneath the dough and to the rolling pin during the process to make sure that the dough won’t stick. Then carefully place the dough onto the pie dish.

Gently press the dough down and into the sides of the dish. I gently use the end of a wooden spoon to really press the dough into the grooves on the sides. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom. You can use scissors to ‘trim’ the dough so that it won’t stick over the edge of the dish. When it does, it will drip off during the baking process (I speak from experience). Please be aware that the pie hasn’t been ‘trimmed’ yet in the picture above!

Then put the pie dish in the freezer for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Line the frozen pie crust with aluminum foil so that the foil extends over the edges (this will be useful for removing the foil later on). Fill two-thirds of the dish with pie weights or dry beans (or rice/chickpeas!).

Bake the pie crust for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil with the pie weights. If your oven tends to bake things unevenly, make sure to turn the pie dish around at this point to get that even brown colour. Then bake it for a further 10 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven and set aside.

2. Make the lemon filling.

Finished lemon filling. No-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a Hopeful Home.

Whisk the 5 egg yolks that you allowed to come to room temperature in step 1.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add 6 tablespoons cornflour, 266 grams white granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 353 ml water, and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for a minute or two until it begins to thicken.

Once the cornflour mixture has thickened up well (you want it to get the consistency of glue) remove the saucepan from the stove. Take a spoonful of the cornflour mixture and whisk it into the beaten egg yolks to temper the yolks.

To temper the eggs is to slowly warm them up before you introduce them to the recipe. If you skipped this step and would just put the eggs into the warm cornflour mixture, you’d end up with scrambled eggs!

Continue to whisk in spoonfuls of the cornflour mixture until you’ve used about half of the mixture.

Then add the egg yolk mixture back to the pot with the cornflour mixture. Return it to a boil, on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook it 3 to 4 minutes. The cornflour will keep the eggs from curdling.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and unsalted butter.

3. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

4. Prepare the cornflour mixture for the meringue.

In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 tablespoon cornflour and the 79 ml of cold water (that you put in the refrigerator to chill in step 1) until the cornflour dissolves. Heat it on medium heat and whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Here you want it to get the texture of glue as well. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Whisk together the white granulated sugar (for the meringue) and the cream of tartar.

This is a step you need to make if you don’t have white wine vinegar. If you do, then ignore this step.

6. Make the meringue.

Meringue mixture. No-fail lemon meringue recipe from a Hopeful Home.

Place the egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar in the bowl of your mixer. Or if you are using a hand mixer like me, just in a bowl. Start mixing the egg whites at low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium.

Once the egg whites are frothy, slowly add in the white granulated sugar (with the cream of tartar if you don’t have white wine vinegar), a spoonful at a time. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. It’s ok here for the peaks to fold over.

Add the cornflour water mixture (of step 4) a spoonful at a time, as you continue to mix the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and continue to mix until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks. Do not over-mix, or your meringue will be grainy. This is where I usually went wrong. Out of fear of over-mixing, I would stop too early and the meringue wouldn’t be firm enough! Just make sure to stop regularly to check whether the mixture is stiff enough and you should be ok.

7. Fill the pie crust with the lemon filling

Lemon filling within pie crust. No-fail lemon meringue pie recipe from a Hopeful Home.

Heat the lemon filling again, until it is bubbling hot. You want the mixture to be hot because it will basically cook the bottom of the meringue while the oven will bake the top of the meringue.

Scoop the steaming hot filling into the pre-baked pie crust and make sure to spread it evenly.

8. Top with meringue

Unbaked meringue on top of pie crust and lemon filling. No-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a Hopeful Home.

Working quickly, use a spoon to spread the meringue mixture evenly around the edge of the pie.

Make sure the mixture attaches to the crust with no gaps. The crust will help to anchor the meringue and help keep it from shrinking.

Fill in the center with more meringue mixture. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks all over the meringue.

9. Bake

Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, until the meringue is golden brown. Here again make sure to turn the dish around if your oven tends do bake things unevenly.

Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely to room temperature. If the pie is even slightly warm when you cut into it, the lemon base may be runny.

10. Storage and cutting

Once you have allowed the pie to cool to room temperature. It’s advised to put the pie covered in the refrigerator if you aren’t planning to eat the pie for a couple of hours. The shape won’t hold up very well in the refrigerator. So it would be best to make the pie on the same day you plan to eat it. I do have to add that I have had leftovers in the refrigerator overnight and they held up fine.

It can be tricky to cut the lemon meringue pie. It helps to wet a sharp knife with hot water and cut the pie with that. Do make sure to carefully slice through that top layer with a small back and forth motion and to wet the knife between each slice.


There you have it, a no-fail lemon meringue pie! I hope it’s helpful and please do let me know if you have any questions.

Much love,
Jenna

P.S. If you’d like to read up on tips and troubleshooting, this is a great article.

header image no-fail lemon meringue pie recipe by a hopeful home

No-fail Lemon Meringue Pie

5 from 1 vote
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Pie Crust

  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 160 grams unsalted butter (cold)
  • 80 grams light brown soft sugar
  • 1/2 whisked egg
  • pinch salt

Lemon Filling

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • 266 grams white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 353 ml water
  • 118 ml lemon juice (this is 3-4 lemons)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Meringue

  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 79 ml water (cold!)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or if you don't have this, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 128 grams white granulated sugar PLUS 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Ingredient preparation and baking the pie crust

  • Remove the 5 eggs (for the lemon filling and the meringue) from the fridge. Really do this first because you want the eggs to be able to reach room temperature before you need to use them. Eggs are easier to separate when they are still cold. So separate the egg yolks and whites into two separate bowls straight away. Also, make sure to measure the 79 ml of water into a bowl/measuring jug for the meringue and put it in the fridge to chill.
  • Prepare a (22 cm) pie dish by buttering the inside and by sprinkling it with some flour.
  • Add all of the ingredients for the pie crust to a bowl and mix them by hand. I believe that when you mix it by hand you can really get a feel for the texture of the dough. It will be very crumbly in the beginning. But after kneading a little while the butter will start to melt and the dough will start to hold together better. Once you feel that it starts to hold together without cracks (just about, you don't want to knead the dough for too long or it will be hard to work with) it's time to roll it out.
  • Flour a surface and a rolling pin and roll out your dough. You want to make sure to re-apply flour to the surface underneath the dough and to the rolling pin during the process to make sure that the dough won't stick. Then carefully place the dough onto the pie dish.
  • Gently press the dough down and into the sides of the dish. I gently use the end of a wooden spoon to really press the dough into the grooves on the sides. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom. You can use scissors to 'trim' the dough so that it won't stick over the edge of the dish. When it does, it will drip off during the baking process (I speak from experience). Please be aware that the pie hasn't been 'trimmed' yet in the picture above!
  • Then put the pie dish in the freezer for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  • Line the frozen pie crust with aluminum foil so that the foil extends over the edges (this will be useful for removing the foil later on). Fill two-thirds of the way with pie weights or dry beans (or rice/chickpeas!).
  • Bake the pie crust for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil with the pie weights. If your oven tends to bake things unevenly, make sure to turn the pie dish around at this point to get that even brown colour. Then bake it for a further 10 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven and set aside.

Make the lemon filling

  • Whisk the 5 egg yolks that you allowed to come to room temperature earlier.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, add 6 tablespoons cornflour, 266 grams white granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 353 ml water, and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for a minute or two until it begins to thicken.
  • Once the cornflour mixture has thickened up well (you want it to get the consistency of glue) remove the saucepan from the stove. Take a spoonful of the cornflour mixture and whisk it into the beaten egg yolks to temper the yolks. Continue to whisk in spoonfuls of the cornflour mixture until you've used about half of the mixture.
  • Then add the egg yolk mixture back to the pot with the cornflour mixture. Return it to a boil, on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook it 3 to 4 minutes. (The flour will keep the eggs from curdling.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and unsalted butter.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius

    Prepare the cornflour mixture for the meringue

    • In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 tablespoon cornflour and the 79 ml of cold water (that you put in the refrigerator to chill) until the cornflour dissolves. Heat it on medium heat and whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Here you want it to get the texture of glue as well. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Whisk together the white granulated sugar (for the meringue) and the cream of tartar

    • This is a step you need to make if you don't have white wine vinegar. If you do, then ignore this step.

    Make the meringue

    • Place the egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar in the bowl of your mixer. Or if you are using a hand mixer like me, just in a bowl. Start mixing the egg whites at low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium.
    • Once the egg whites are frothy, slowly add in the white granulated sugar (with the cream of tartar if you don't have white wine vinegar), a spoonful at a time. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
    • Add the cornflour water mixture (of step 4) a spoonful at a time, as you continue to mix the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and continue to mix until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks. Do not over-mix, or your meringue will be grainy. This is where I usually went wrong. Out of fear of over-mixing, I would stop too early and the meringue wouldn't be firm enough.

    Fill the pie crust with the lemon filling

    • Heat the lemon filling again, until it is bubbling hot.
    • Scoop the steaming hot filling into the pre-baked pie crust and make sure to spread it evenly.

    Top with meringue

    • Working quickly, use a spoon to spread the meringue mixture evenly around the edge of the pie.
    • Make sure the mixture attaches to the crust with no gaps. The crust will help to anchor the meringue and help keep it from shrinking.
    • Fill in the center with more meringue mixture. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks all over the meringue.

    Bake

    • Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, until the meringue is golden brown.
    • Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely to room temperature. If the pie is even slightly warm when you cut into it, the lemon base may be runny.

    Storage and cutting

    • Once you have allowed the pie to cool to room temperature. It's advised to put the pie covered in the refrigerator if you aren't planning to eat the pie for a couple of hours. The shape won't hold up very well in the refrigerator. So you should make the pie on the same day you plan to eat it.
    • It can be tricky to cut the lemon meringue pie. A tip that's mentioned is to wet a sharp knife with hot water and cut the pie with that. Do make sure to carefully slice through that top layer with a small back and forth motion. Wet the knife between each slice.

    (1) Comment

    1. Sian Munday says:

      5 stars
      Best ever Lemon meringue pie!!💗

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