Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Cream Pie

This pie is tart, creamy and full of fresh lemon flavor.

1 pie crust (I used a homemade one using Crisco)
2-4 lemons
1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs - separated
1 teaspoon of salt
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of corn starch

The night before prepare the lemons:  Slice up 2 large or 4 small lemons into thin slices. I also cut off the zest for maximum flavor.  Sprinkle with the salt & sugar.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set on the counter over night.  The next morning strain the lemon juice out.  You should have about 1/2 a cup of yellow juice.

Bake your unfilled pie shell in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  I cover my pie dough with parchment paper and then place uncooked rice on top to make sure that it stays in place.  Cool your pie shell before starting the rest of the pie.  You can use a pre-made crumb shell if you prefer and skip this step.

Make the meringue first:  Using an electric mixer beat the 4 egg whites, cream of tartar & powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Place the bowl of meringue in the fridge.

Preheat Oven to 350.

Set up a double boiler to cook the pie filling.  I just place a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Constantly whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice & 2 teaspoons of  corn starch together.  You want to whisk for about 10-15 minutes.  The goal is to cook the egg yolks and thicken the mixture until it starts to be a runny pudding consistency.

Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell and top with the meringue.  Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  The meringue should start to brown a bit.  Chill in the ice box for at least 2 hours before serving so the pie can finish setting up.

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