While citrus fruits have their peak season in the winter, there’s just something incredibly refreshing about their tangy, bright, and acidic flavor on a hot and steamy summer day.
One bite of this creamy and tart pie, topped with a fluffy mound of toasted Italian meringue, and things cool waaay down.
Had to run to the post office today? The line was probably too long anyways.
Laundry to do? You can find something else to wear tomorrow. You’ve had this problem a few times before and you managed to make it work.
Oh and that dinner party you planned for tonight? Embrace the art of buying nice things and merely assembling, darling. Everyone loves a good antipasto platter.
The point is, lemon meringue pie is just one of those desserts that speaks of summertime. And summer is all about taking a little time to slow down, and just breathe. Sometimes we need food to remind us of that.
I like to add a little bit of pineapple juice to my lemon curd recipe. I think that it adds a lovely dimension to the flavor of the lemon without distracting from it. No pineapple juice or desire to use it? Simply substitute lemon juice.
This pie crust is one of my favorite recipes because it’s so easy to work with. You can actually roll it out right after you mix the pastry. It also works fine at both sea level and at altitude, given that you may need to adjust the amount of water depending on the dryness of your flour.
One of my favorite “kitchen” tools is my propane torch. No, we’re not talking about one of those petite ones you can order from Williams-Sonoma. The big blue, full-blast one. I love to use it for bruleeing, browning meringue, and warming up the ingredients in my KitchenAid as they’re mixing.
These torches aren’t that scary, I promise. And you will get some serious props while you’re buying yours in the hardware store. Some raised eyebrows, entirely out of respect, with the thought behind them being “My gosh, that woman is buying a PROPANE TORCH!”. It feels good. Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet…
How to make this high altitude recipe:
Lemon-Pineapple Meringue Pie:
Pie Pastry (adapted from Williams-Sonoma) and Lemon-Pineapple Curd (adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard)
- Pie Pastry:
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold
- ¼-1/2 cup cold water
- Lemon-Pineapple Curd:
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2½ tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 3 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½″ cubes
- Italian Meringue:
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 4 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- For the pie pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Cut the butter into small cubes and using a pastry blender, work the butter in quickly until it is the size of small peas.
- Add the cold water and gently mix the pastry until it comes together. First it will create a shaggy mass, and when it just comes together knead it 2-3 times until smooth.
- Unless your kitchen is a million degrees, this pastry can be rolled and shaped into the pie pan right away. Lightly flour your surface and roll the pastry to about ⅙″ thick, lifting and rotating the pasty so it doesn’t stick to the surface.
- Drape your round of pastry into the pie dish. I like to leave a 1″ overhang on my pie crusts so that I can roll and crimp the edges.
- Chill for 10-15 minutes before baking.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line the pie shell with a round of parchment paper. Fill the shell with beans, rice, or pie weights and bake until the pie crust is a light golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Cool completely before removing the parchment and pie weights.
- For the lemon-pineapple curd: combine the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, yolks, and juices in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk well.
- Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water to create a water bath. Whisk continuously and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom frequently. The curd will begin to foam, and then thicken to the consistency of sour cream. Insert a thermometer into the curd to check it’s temperature. The curd will be done when it reaches 160 F.
- Remove the curd from the heat and whisk in the butter, a few cubes at a time.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cover the surface with plastic. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until it is no longer warm, and then transfer to the refrigerator to continue cooling down. The curd can be kept airtight in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- For the meringue: In a sauce pot, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar. The cream of tartar is an acid, and especially at altitude, it will help your sugar from seizing as it cooks. Stir gently to ensure all of the sugar gets wet. If you splash any of the sugar water on the sides of the pot, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash it down.
- Cook over high heat until the sugar reaches 240 F.
- Meanwhile, start whipping the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until they create soft peaks.
- When the sugar is ready, carefully and quickly stream into the whipping egg whites on medium-high speed.
- After the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and whip for 2-3 minutes until the meringue is fluffy and has created stiff peaks. Stir in the vanilla and use right away.
- To assemble: Fill the baked pie shell with the chilled lemon-pineapple curd. Top with the Italian meringue and using a propane torch, lightly brown the meringue. Alternatively, place the pie under the broiler for a few minutes, keeping a careful eye on it.
- Chill out.