dairy-free lemon meringue pie
A meal is never truly over in my house until we finish dessert. I grew up in a family where desserts are the first thing we think about when preparing a menu for an upcoming lunch or dinner party. Desserts are so precious to us that they are also the first thing we look at on a restaurant’s menu. I have my mom to blame for my sweet tooth, as it’s something I inherited from her side of the family given that my dad never really ate any desserts except fruit until he married my mom. Things quickly changed when they got married and now not one dinner goes by without him also asking what’s for dessert. After over 20 years of marriage, he pretty much likes all things sweet, but if he had to pick one dessert among them all it would definitely be lemon meringue pie — not just any lemon pie, however, it has to be this particular one.
I’m more of a creamy-chocolately-fudgey kind of dessert girl, so lemon pie would be the last dessert I’d order at a restaurant or prepare at home — until I tried this one and understood why my dad loves it so much. I’ve always found lemon pies and citrus desserts way too sour and not sweet enough to satisfy my cravings, but this lemon meringue pie really hits the spot as it has the perfect balance of sweet and sour and comes topped with golden meringue — a treat that I simply adore.
This is a dessert that takes some time to make, so prepare it in advance or give yourself an afternoon to assemble it. You’ll first have to prepare a batch of buttery dough for the base of the pie and bake it until firm and golden. Then comes the lemon curd, which needs to be cooked and whisked in a saucepan until thick and smelling deliciously of lemon. Once the curd cools down, it is poured into the pie crust and left alone until it reaches room temperature. Finally comes the meringue, made out of egg whites whipped until firm and layered on top of the lemon curd and baked for 10 minutes until slightly golden. The best part of it all is that this lemon meringue pie is entirely dairy-free, yet still so tasty — perfect for a lactose-intolorant girl like me! And besides for my mother-in-law’s lemon pie, this is the only other one that I truly enjoy eating, especially the day after it has been made. Trust me, it’s entirely worth the wait!
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113g) margarine, softened
- 6 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cups cornstarch
- 2 cups water
- ½ stick (55g) margarine + 1 tablespoon, melted
- 4 egg yolks
- Zest grated from 1 lemon
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the pie crust. Mix well with your hands until fully incorporated. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 minutes for it to harden a bit. Place the dough in between two sheets of wax paper and roll out into a circle shape. Revert the dough into a circle Pyrex and pinch the sides around the top of the Pyrex. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Do not worry if the dough puffs up a bit; it will all fall down once you fill it with the lemon curd.
- To make the lemon curd, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat source and let it cool down. Add the melted margarine to the saucepan and mix to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest and add to the saucepan, mixing well to combine. Heat the mixture again while adding the lemon juice. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the lemon curd onto the pie crust. Let it cool completely to room temperature before topping it with the meringue.
- Preheat oven again to 350°F/180°C.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar (or salt) until fluffy. Gradually add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat until hard peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat just to combine. Top the pie with the meringue, pulling it up a bit with the spatula on certain spots to create peaks. Bake for 10 minutes until the peaks become slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
CAN BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE: You can bake the pie crust and fill it with the lemon curd a day in advance. Let it cool down to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next day. Prepare the meringue the day you serve the dessert. The pie is even better the next day, so I tend to always make it a day in advance!
How did your dairy-free lemon meringue pie come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania