Lemon Meringue Pie: #49 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I usually prefer anything chocolate for dessert, but lemon meringue pie is one exception. The creamy, tangy sweetness is refreshing and satisfying. This version has a shortbread cookie-like crust for an extra comforting treat.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter – $1.86
1 3/4 cup flour – $0.28
1/2 cup icing sugar – $0.44
1 whole egg – $0.29
1 tbsp + 1 3/4 cup water – free
6 lemons – $1.20
1/2 cup + 2 tsp cornstarch – $1.70
6 egg yolks + 6 egg whites – $1.75
1 cup + 1 cup sugar – $1.74

Directions

1. Make the pastry: Mix the butter and flour together until they become crumbly and there are no big chunks of butter. Feel free to use your hands! Add the icing sugar, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp water, and mix until it comes together into a ball of dough. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface first, or press it straight into 2 pie tins. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to firm up. Then bake the crust at 350F for 15 minutes. If you have baking beans, use them, if not I just put some empty jam jars into the pie crust to weigh it down during blind baking.

2. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: squeeze the juice out of the 6 lemons and grate the zest. In a small pot, mix the lemon juice and zest with 1/2 cup cornstarch. Add 1 3/4 cup boiling water and whisk to thicken the mixture over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of sugar and 6 egg yolks. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until thick enough to be a pie filling.

3. Pour the lemon filling into the pastry crust, then make the meringue: whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until you get soft peaks when you pull the beaters out of the bowl. Add 1 cup sugar gradually as you continue to mix, then add the 2 tsp cornstarch and whisk a bit longer. It should be nice and glossy and pretty stiff. Drop spoonfuls of the meringue on top of the lemon filling, and use the back of the spoon to make sure the meringue covers right to the edge of the pie. Feel free to make any design or pattern you like on top. 

Bake at 340F (dropped oven temperature from before) for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is nicely golden. I like to let it cool for 15 minutes and then chill it in the fridge before serving. 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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