Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr (plus 4 hr chilling)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
It doesn’t get more classic than lemon meringue pie. For this towering and dramatic version, we spoon on tall swoops of meringue, all the way towards the edge of the crust. A crucial step that's needed to avoid weeping!


For the Crust:

For the Filling:

For the Meringue:


  1. Make the crust: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening and pulse a few times until combined. Add the butter and pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Add the vinegar and 3 tablespoons ice water; pulse until the dough comes together but is slightly crumbly. Pinch the dough — if it’s too crumbly, pulse in more ice water 1 teaspoon at a time. Turn out the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough, then flatten into a disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch round. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself, then crimp the edges. Refrigerate the crust until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and continue baking until the crust is a deep golden brown on the bottom, 20 to 30 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while preparing the filling but leave the oven on.
  4. Make the filling: Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan to combine. Whisk in the water and lemon juice and turn the heat to medium. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk about one-quarter of the sugar mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk in another one-quarter of the sugar mixture until smooth, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Continue cooking, whisking constantly to keep the egg yolks from scrambling, about 1 more minute. Stir in the butter and lemon zest until the butter melts; remove from the heat.
  5. Immediately make the meringue while the filling is still hot: Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Very slowly beat in the sugar; continue beating until firm glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes more (do not overbeat). Give the lemon filling a quick stir, then pour into the crust. Immediately spread the meringue on top of the hot filling, spreading it all the way to the crust; use the back of a spoon to make swoops and peaks. Bake until the meringue is golden brown in spots, 5 to 7 minutes; do not overbake to avoid weeping.
  6. Remove the pie to a rack and let cool 1 hour, then refrigerate until completely cooled before slicing, about 4 hours.