Any-Citrus Meringue Pie

published Mar 10, 2022
Any-Citrus Meringue Pie Recipe

Use whatever citrus juice you like best in this fun choose-you-own-adventure dessert.

Serves8

Makes1 (9-inch) pie

Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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three pies on a marble counter
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Lemon meringue pie is a classic for a reason. It’s a perfect flavor combination: sour, silky curd paired with sweet, fluffy meringue. Then, add the textural contrast that I deeply love by nestling it all into a crisp, flaky pie crust. But as much as I love lemon meringue, it’s time to expand the definition of this classic. Lemon isn’t the only fruit to bring to this pie party, especially in peak citrus season when so many amazing varieties are available.

Instead, I invite you to embrace the concept of Tart Meringue Pies, a dessert that welcomes anything that can contribute some pucker power. Lime, tangerine, grapefruit, Cara Cara orange — all make delicious (and beautiful) meringue pies. This flexible recipe allows you to use a variety of juices as the base of the curd filling. No matter what, I always add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to keep things nice and tart, whichever flavor direction I go.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

While fresh-squeezed juice is best whenever it’s available, it’s also OK to use high-quality bottled juices, like yuzu, key lime, or even unsweetened juice from other tart fruits — like

passionfruit

rhubarb — to make this recipe. Remember, the egg yolks are likely to tint the filling a rich yellow color, but you can always add a drop or two of food coloring, if you like, to intensify the natural colors from whatever fruit you’re using.

Supporting the delicious filling is the buttery crust, which is blind baked to prevent a soggy bottom. The filled crust is topped with dollops of fluffy meringue, which you can swoop and swirl however you like, or pipe it onto the pie using a star tip. If you have a kitchen torch, use it to toast the meringue or feel free to leave it untoasted. This is your tart meringue pie adventure, so do what feels right to you!

Want more pie inspiration? Check out Erin’s latest cookbook, The Book on Pie!

Any-Citrus Meringue Pie Recipe

Use whatever citrus juice you like best in this fun choose-you-own-adventure dessert.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the pâte brisée:

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons

    ice water, plus more as needed

For the any citrus curd:

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup

    cornstarch

  • 2

    medium lemon

  • 1 cup

    citrus juice, preferably freshly squeezed — or other tart unsweetened fruit juice such as passion fruit or rhubarb

  • 8

    large egg yolks

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the meringue:

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 4

    large egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cream of tartar

  • Pinch kosher salt

Instructions

Make the pâte brisée:

  1. Place 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse to combine. Cut 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter over the flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture around the edges, and pulse to combine. If the dough comes together into a ball, stop mixing. If the dough is dry or crumbly, pulse in more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. (You can also transfer the flour/butter mixture to a bowl and add the water by hand for more careful hydration.)

  3. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a 5- to 6-inch-wide disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

  4. Lightly dust a work surface and rolling pin with all-purpose flour. Unwrap the dough and place on the flour. Roll out to a round about 1/4-inch thick and 13 inches wide, rotating it as you work to help prevent it from sticking. Gently roll the dough up around the rolling pin, and unroll it onto a 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish).

  5. Gently lift the crust around the edges to help nestle it into the base and fully touch all sides of the pie plate. Use scissors to trim away the excess dough, leaving about 1/2-inch excess all the way around the outside edge of the pie plate. Tuck this excess dough under, pressing gently to make it flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the crust as desired, then poke the base and sides all over with a fork. Refrigerate uncovered, for 1 hour.

  6. Towards the end of chill time, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the diameter of a pie plate, and press it into the base of the pie plate. Fill with pie weights to the top inner rim of the pie plate.

  7. Bake until the edges begin to lightly brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake until the lower portion of the crust appears dry and set, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let cool completely before filling.

Make the curd:

  1. Melt 8 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, place 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Juice 2 medium lemons until you have 1/4 cup juice.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the sugar mixture, lemon juice, 1 cup citrus juice, 8 large egg yolks, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the butter. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the curd begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Switch to a silicone spatula and continue to cook, stirring constantly (be sure to get into the edges and corners of the pot), until the curd thickens and fat bubbles begin to break the surface in the center of the pot, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Place a fine-mesh strainer onto the crust. Pour the mixture through the strainer and press through the strainer into the crust (make sure to scrape the underside of the strainer). Spread into an even layer and discard the contents of the strainer. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling. Refrigerate until cooled completely, at least 2 and up to 24 hours. Shortly before you’re ready to serve the pie, make the meringue.

Make the meringue:

  1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, place 1 cup granulated sugar, 4 large egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium heatproof bowl that fits onto the top of the saucepan without the bottom touching the water. Whisk to combine.

  2. Place the bowl onto the saucepan and continue to heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F, 5 to 6 minutes.

  3. Option 1: Beat directly in the saucepan with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.
    Option 2: Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Dollop the meringue onto the center of the chilled pie. Use a small offset spatula to push the meringue out toward the edges, but maintain a mound in the middle. If desired, use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue all over (do not broil).

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pie and meringue can be completely made up to 24 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated separately. Top the pie with the meringue right before serving.

Storage: Refrigerate the assembled pie, loosely covered, for up to 24 hours. After that, the meringue may lose volume/begin to weep in humid environments.