Cranberry Lemon Meringue Pie
All the goodness of lemon meringue pie tastes even better with cranberries in the mix. It’s not just their fruity tartness that makes them so appealing, the little berries are also full of pectin, which helps set the filling so that it’s soft yet sliceable. And, of course, they give the pie a bright magenta hue. To show it off, you can dollop the whipped egg whites only in the center, but the unanchored meringue may slide around when you cut wedges. You can cover the top completely to keep the meringue in place and surprise guests with the brilliant pink filling.
- Serves: 9 persons
- 1disk All-Butter Pie Crust
- All-purpose flour, for rolling
- 1cup/211 grams granulated sugar
- ¼teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 2medium lemons
- 3cups/343 grams fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2packed tablespoons cornstarch
- 4large eggs, separated
- 3tablespoons/42 grams cold unsalted butter
- ¼teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½cup/70 grams confectioners’ sugar
Step 1If the dough has been refrigerated for more than an hour, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12 1/2-inch round. Roll the dough up onto the pin, then unroll it over a standard (not deep-dish) 9-inch pie plate, centering it. Gently tuck and press it into the bottom and sides of the plate without stretching the dough. Fold the overhang of the dough under itself along the rim so that the dough is flush with the edge of the plate. If you’d like, crimp the edges of the dough.
Step 2If the dough has softened, refrigerate or freeze it until firm, about 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10 minutes in the freezer. While the dough chills, position a rack in the lowest position in the oven and heat to 375 degrees.
Step 3Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the dough without piercing all the way through, if possible. Line the dough with a sheet of crumpled parchment paper. (Crumpling helps it lie flat against the dough.) Fill the lined dough to the top with pie weights, such as dried beans.
Step 4Bake on the bottom rack until the edges are light golden brown, the sides look dry and the bottom looks almost dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights with the parchment and return the empty shell to the bottom rack. Bake until the bottom is golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Step 5Place the sugar and salt in a large saucepan and zest the lemons directly over it. Gently rub the zest into the sugar. Into a small bowl, squeeze a scant 1/2 cup juice from the lemons; set aside. Add the cranberries and 1 1/4 cups water to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until all of the cranberries have popped and collapsed and the liquid is red, syrupy and filled with cranberry seeds, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 6Pour the cranberry mixture through a sieve, pressing on the berries to extract all of their juice and scraping everything off the underside of the sieve. (You should have 2 cups; discard the solids inside the sieve.) Add the cornstarch to the empty saucepan (no need to wash) and whisk in 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth, then use a spatula to stir in the strained cranberry mixture.
Step 7Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously, then continue to boil while stirring until very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture should be boiling hard with big bubbles. Turn off the heat, and stir in the cold butter and reserved lemon juice until the butter melts. Pour into the cooled pie shell and spread evenly. (At this point, the pie can be cooled completely, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before topping with the meringue.)
Step 8Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand or stand mixer on medium-high speed until foamy on top. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. When you lift the whisk from the mixture, the top will droop back down. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sifting it if it’s at all lumpy. Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. When you lift the whisk from the mixture, the top should stand up and just the tip will have a curlicue.
Step 9Pile the meringue in the center of the warm pie filling, leaving a 1- to 2-inch rim of filling if you’d like. (If covering the filling, spread the meringue over the crust.) Use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over or, bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool the pie at room temperature until the filling is set very firm. If the meringue weeps moisture onto the filling, dab it away with a paper towel.