This March 14 – “Pi Day” — it’s not really pi in the sky: it’s lemon meringue pie that home cooks, bakers and their families can savor, thanks to the first in an ongoing series of unique recipes from Coast Packing Company. The recipe, Lemon Meringue Pie with Extra Flaky Lard and Butter Pie Crust, is a creation of Coast Corporate Chef Greg Hozinsky…
by Coast Corporate Chef Greg Hozinsky
(Makes enough dough for two pies or one pie with lattice/crust topping)
Extra flaky lard and butter pie crust
3 cups all-purpose flour (pro tip: use a spoon or a scoop to fill measuring cup, then level off with the backside of a knife; scooping directly with a measuring cup compresses the flour, giving you more than the recipe requires)
- 1 tsp, Kosher salt
- 2/3 cup high quality lard, chilled
- 1/2 cup of cold butter, diced into ½ pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp, white distilled vinegar
- 6-8 Tbsp ice water
- Extra egg, for egg wash
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- ¾ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, about 1 large lemon
- 6 each egg yolks
- 6 each egg whites
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For pie crust
- Combine salt and flour, mix well in a large bowl, add in diced butter and lard (try breaking the lard into tablespoon-size pieces so it incorporates more evenly. Using a dough blender/cutter, cut the fat into the flour mixture until it has a consistency of a crumb — similar to the size of a bean. At this point, the flour should stick together when compressed between your fingers and thumb.
- Combine the vinegar, egg and 6 tbsp of water, beat together with fork. Evenly distribute over flour mixture using a fork mix until it just starts to come together; if the dough is dry and not coming together, add additional 1-2 Tbsp of water.
- When the dough starts to just come together, dump it onto a clean counter surface. Push the dough together until it adheres; you really don’t want to work to the dough much — you want the dough to be crumbly and flaky, not chewy.
- Cut the dough in half, form into 5 – 6 inch discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When the dough is ready, remove from plastic film, dust counter or (if you have one) silicone pastry mat with flour. Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Using a rolling pin, begin to roll out dough; starting from the middle and working your way out, flip the dough and add flour often to prevent sticking.
- Once the dough is of even thickness (about 1/4 inch thick), gently place dough over pie dish (using the rolling pin to loosely lift and place the dough). If you like a more decorative pie dough, roll over the edges or, using your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and the pointer finger of the other, create a crimped decorative edge that is visually appealing.
Because we will fill our pie with a pre-cooked filling, we want to completely cook the dough before we introduce the filling; note that this might not be the case for all types of pies.
- To bake, use the tines of a fork to gently dock the bottom of the dough; place a piece of parchment into the pie dough and add pie weights (if you don’t have pie weights, dry beans are a good substitute to weigh down the bottom).
- Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated convection oven or 375 degrees if you don’t have convection. Cook for 20 minutes. remove weights and gently brush the decorative edge of the pie crust with egg wash (don’t have to do this, but it will result in a nicer looking finished pie crust).
- Place back into the oven without the weights and cook an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. After about 10-15 minutes, you might notice the top edge of the pie crust will brown quicker than the bottom of the pie crust; using a few small pieces of aluminum foil, tent the edges of the crust to cover them and help with even cooking. When the pie is golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before adding filling.
Lemon curd filling
- In a heavy bottom sauce pot, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, water and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
- Combine the cornstarch with about 5 Tbsp of water and mix well with a whisk or fork to create a slurry; whisk cornstarch mixture into simmering water mixture and continue to cook until it reaches a boil and has fully thickened.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until blended; add about 1 cup of hot water/lemon mixture into the egg yolks while whisking to temper them. Then add the yolks into the water/lemon mixture while whisking; continue to cook over medium heat unit big bubbles come to the surface.Remember to mix constantly during this process.
- Remove from heat and add butter; mix in until smooth. Pour lemon curd into cooked pie crust, allow to cool slightly at room temperature, then gently cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool completely — at least a few hours or, even better, overnight.
There are actually three types of meringue. For this recipe, we feel Italian is best. It has a wonderfully glossy appearance and the texture is very stable. Adding hot sugar to the egg whites also acts as a pasteurization process, making them safe to consume without the need for additional cooking.
- If possible, start by letting the egg whites come up to room temperature. It is also crucial that the egg whites are not contaminated with any water, egg yolk or oil; this will inhibit the ability of the egg whites to properly whip.
- Place the sugar and water into a heavy bottom sauce pot, cook over medium heat.Have a digital or candy thermometer close by, since it is essential to bring the mixture to 240 degrees.
- While the water/sugar mixture begins to heat, use an electric stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer equipped with wire whip attachment; beat until frothy, then add cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form.
- While this is happening, monitor your boiling sugar; when the temperature reaches 240 degrees, remove from stove and, in a slow and steady stream, pour it into the egg whites while continuing to beat at a moderate speed.
- Once the sugar is incorporated into the eggs, add vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Spread whipped meringues onto the set lemon meringue pie, using the back of a metal spoon or rubber spatula to create a decorative look. If you have a torch, use it to very gently and lightly toast the meringue. If you don’t have a torch, don’t fret; you can always use the bottom rack and low setting of your broiler to achieve the same results.
Then there’s the last step: eat it and enjoy with your friends and family!