There’s a difference between the skills required for cooking and those that go into baking, as anyone who has attempted a complicated pastry can attest. Instead, CHOW goes for simple, homey desserts like this tart-sweet pie.
- 1Place oven rack in the center of oven and heat to 375°F.
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1Combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Press mixture evenly into a 9-inch metal or ceramic pie plate and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the lemon filling:
- 1Combine cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Add water and whisk until blended; use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to make sure mixture is well combined.
- 2Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter and lemon zest, and stir vigorously until butter is completely melted and ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- 3Pour mixture into graham-cracker crust, cover with a round of waxed paper or parchment paper, and let cool to room temperature.
For the meringue:
- 1Combine egg whites and salt in a large, clean bowl and whip with a hand mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- 2Remove the paper from pie, and spoon meringue over lemon filling. Spread meringue with a spatula so that it covers the entire surface of the pie, sealing in filling. Be sure meringue meets the crust, otherwise it will shrink inward, exposing filling.
- 3Bake until meringue is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then refrigerate until filling is cold, at least 4 hours. Slice, and serve chilled.
Beverage pairing: Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Reisling Auslese Rotlay, Germany. Only Riesling has the sharp, acidic rush to take on the intensity of the lemon while casually balancing it with perfectly integrated sweetness. The firmness and structure of this wine makes a satisfying contrast to the creamy puffiness of the pie.