This is one of easiest and most flamboyant pies you can make. And guess what? No pastry crust!
That makes it great for crust-o-phobics, and also a nice little entry in the gluten-free category.Meringue crusts are no big secret. Lots of em floating around out there. I first learned of them from my mom, who used to make this showoffy pie for company in the 60s. When I moved across the country, she gifted me with a hand-written cookbook of all her best recipes, and two meringue-crust pies were in it: Lemon Angel and Mocha Chiffon.
Because you don’t have to mess with pastry dough, they’re super-easy. Here’s how it goes:
Preheat the oven to 275. Grease a 10-inch pie pan.
Separate 4 eggs and whip the whites until they are very stiff.
While still beating, gradually pour in 1 c. of sugar and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar. Beat just until blended.
Spoon the meringue into the buttered pie pan.
Now take a butter knife or whatever else seems right to you and make little peaks or fun designs around the edges of the meringue.
When your oven is heated to 275, put the meringue crust in there and bake it for an hour, perhaps an hour and 10 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR while it’s baking. My mom’s directions say to leave it in there for hours to cool, with the oven door shut. Other recipes I found said you can take it out when it’s done baking and let it cool on the counter. Do whatever moves you.
And out it comes, deserving of a theme song all its own!
For filling, you can really do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t require baking the crust further. Treat this like a blind-baked crust; fill it with something, and you’re done.
I’m betting that a big pile of fresh summer fruit in a light glaze would be wonderful piled into this crust; but since we’re in the middle of winter, I stuck with the original recipe. I made a basic lemon curd and cooled it. (This was easy because I happened to have lemon-bar filling lying around; so I cooked it up over a double boiler. If you are a more normal person, without excess lemon filling just lying around, and you don’t want to make a batch of my lemon curd, go to the store and buy a jar. Some brands are pretty good.)
I whipped cream until it was stiff, shaking in some powdered sugar to offset the lemon I was going to blend it with. I folded the whipped cream into about a cup or cup-and-a half of the lemon curd, and voila, I had my pie filling.
Now spoon the cooled crust into the filling.
We felt the urge to add a little splash of red, so we made a raspberry coulis and my older daughter piped a few swirls onto the pie to brighten things up.
We finished with a little pile of fresh raspberries in the center, as you can see from the photo at the top of the post.