Judy Rosenberg of Rosie's Bakery
Food Editor's Note:
This is a delicious dessert when you want something different, dramatic, and not too heavy. The combination of crisp crust, sweet-tart filling, and airy meringue is truly a satisfying combination. Judy’s version is very reliable - the filling sets up beautifully and the meringue is just the right consistency. You will need to make this dessert at least eight hours in advance, but the actual preparation time is less than an hour if you use a store-bought pie crust that you bake at home. This is a winner!
1 9-inch pie crust, baked
For the filling:
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained (about 3 lemons)
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
For the meringue topping:
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Bake the pie crust and cool.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water in a medium-size saucepan. Add the sugar and cook the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the lemon juice and egg yolks and simmer, stirring occasionally, so the egg yolks cook, 3 minutes.
4. Strain the custard into a medium-size bowl and stir in the butter or margarine and the lemon zest. Allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
5. Pour the custard into the pie crust. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to set for 4 to 6 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
7. For the meringue, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites in a medium-size mixing bowl until frothy, about 50 seconds.
8. Gradually add the sugar and cream of tartar on medium speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 15 seconds. Then increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is shiny and holds stiff peaks, about 90 seconds more.
9. Use a rubber spatula to scoop and spread the meringue over the pie. Use the back of a metal spoon to make little peaks.
10. Bring the meringue all the way to the edge of the crust or else cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil. Bake the pie on the center oven rack until the tips and ridges are golden, 10-15 minutes.
11. Remove the pie from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Allow the pie to cool on a rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate it for at least another hour before serving. Cut the pie with the tip of a thin sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water and wipe dry before each cut.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Note: Water tends to form when meringue is baked on a water-based custard. If this occurs, after you have removed the first slice, tip the pan over the sink and pour off any excess liquid.
Judy Rosenberg opened the first Rosie’s Bakery in Cambridge, and now has additional stores in Chestnut Hill and Boston’s South Station. Rosie’s Bakery has won so many Boston Magazine Best of Boston citations that it is now enshrined in their Hall of Fame. Judy is also the author of Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book, winner of an IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award, and Rosie’s Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book.