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The best lemon meringue pie EVER…and gluten free!!!

In the midst of all this renovating and moving and cleaning and tiling and painting and gardening and planning a pig farm there has actually been some LIVING going on as well. Those of you who know me well know that my passion for lemon meringue pie is unmatched…I would rather have lemon meringue pie then any other dessert in the entire universe. Izzie, it seems, has inherited this same tart addiction…alas, the task of making gluten free pie crust is daunting and fraught with failure, so we haven’t made one.

I can’t remember why we all started craving that slice-of-sunny pie…it must have been a combination of a series of unseasonably warm days filled with outdoor rambling and impromptu lemonade stands and the overabundance of physical exertion brought on by the renovation…but one day I found myself combing the internet for that perfect gluten free pie crust topped with tart lemon curd and swirls of golden brown meringue.

Izzie’s impromptu lemonade stand to benefit “kids in Africa who don’t have food”. She earned over $20 for Project Hunger!

Among the scrumptious snacks-for-sale; crunchy chicken fingers, double chocolate brownies, hodge podge trail mix, fruit skewers and homemade seltzer!

I stumbled across this post by Gluten Free Canteen and was immediately encouraged; I have made recipes off this blog before and have been impressed with the accuracy of their recipes…gluten free baking is such alchemy and Gluten Free Canteen does their research! In particular the pie crust recipe seemed impossibly simple and the lemon curd recipe–though labor intensive–seemed sure to yield good results.

Little hands make the best crust!

A side note here…

With nearly three years of gluten free baking under our belts now we have come to the conclusion the success lies in the right flour blend. If you are lazy…as we are…you don’t want to blend your own so we use this one for breads, pie crust, pizza and savory baking and this one for cookies, cakes, and muffins. This allows us to sub into most non-gluten free recipes using a 1:1 replacement for wheat flour.

Back to the pie…

Never have I ever tasted such a lemon pie…it was so delicious I actually ate SLOWLY because I didn’t want to ever stop eating that pie. Ever. The crust was light and flaky, the meringue perfectly toasted…but ultimately it’s the lemon curd that takes this pie from good to sublime. The process for this curd is quite different than any other curd I have made before, and involves cooking the curd to a certain point and then whipping in soft butter after the mixture has cooled. The result is a sweetly piquant curd with a lighter texture than most; creamy yellow and flecked with snappy bits of zest.

Yum.

Here’s the recipe in its entirety, full credit to Gluten Free Canteen:

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust:

1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix

¾ cup COLD shortening or lard

¼ + ice cold water

Pinch salt

  • Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor.
  • Add the shortening and combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the ice water until the mixture forms a firm ball.
  • Press into a greased pie plate. Prick crust all over with a fork.
  • Bake at 350 degrees (filled with dry beans or pie weights) for 15 -20 minutes. Make the curd while it’s cookin’.
  • Cool. No really, it’s awesome.

Curd:

1 cup sugar

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

4 eggs

¾ cup fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)

2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temp)

  • Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into a double boiler. Combine sugar and zest together between your fingers. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.
  • Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. Whisk the cream constantly until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer and the cream thickens and leaves tracks. Transfer to a blender and let cool to 120 degrees.
  • With the blender on high and the top on, drop in the softened butter 1 Tbsp at a time. Continue whipping until cream is light and fluffy. Pour into cooled and prepared pie shell.

Meringue and Assembly:

4 large egg whites (room temp)

Pinch cream of tartar and pinch salt

¾ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

  • Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form; continue beating in sugar SLOWLY and vanilla until meringue is glossy and stiff.
  • Mound over prepared pie and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until meringue is set and meringue peaks are a toasty brown.
  • Chill. Just hang out, relax, eat dinner. Then eat yummy pie!!

Then dance!! Because Pie is delicious!