Servings: 6 to 8
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 min (includes refrigeration)
1. To prepare the lemon curd, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and salt and continue whisking until all of the ingredients are well combined. Add the lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and butter. Continue whisking until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium heat. Whisk continuously, scraping the sides with a spatula and taking care not to burn the bottom. Keep the saucepan over heat until the mixture thickens and deepens in color, about 7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to whisk the mixture for 1 more minute.
Pour the mixture into the prebaked piecrust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour.
2. To prepare the meringue, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time. Once all of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and beat for 30 more seconds. The meringue should be light and fluffy. Test the meringue to see if it will hold by inserting your spatula into the meringue mixture and quickly pulling it out. If the meringue forms little peaks but does not fall, you have achieved the desired consistency. If the meringue does fall, continue beating and retesting with your spatula at 30-second intervals until the peaks remain in place when the spatula is removed. Scrape the meringue out of the bowl and place it on top of the lemon curd in the pie shell. Smooth out the meringue to cover the entire pie and form a mound of meringue in the middle of the pie. Use a spatula to pat and lift the meringue across the top of the pie, forming peaks.
3. To brown the meringue, place the pie in an oven broiler on an oven rack placed in the middle position for 3 to 4 minutes (or until your desired brownness has been achieved); alternatively, use a kitchen torch (see page xviii). If you opt to use a kitchen torch, be careful to evenly spread the flame across the entire surface of the pie for a consistent finish.
Cook's note: Lemon Meringue Pie is best served cold and should be eaten the same day it’s made.