A good lemon meringue pie has a balance of tangy filling, flaky crust, and sweet toasted-meringue topping. This apricot version starts with a press-in crust that has ground almonds to complement the fruit. The filling is made with fresh apricots to keep it tangy, similar to the classic lemon. It’s topped off with a sturdy Swiss-style meringue that is heated a bit before being whipped to stiff peaks and toasted in the oven to ensure a pie that won’t weep or become soggy.
Special equipment: You’ll need pie weights to line the crust so that it doesn’t puff up while prebaking. If you don’t have pie weights, just use some dried beans.
You’ll also need an instant-read thermometer for this recipe.
Game plan: The dough can be made and pressed into the pie plate, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking.
This recipe was featured as part of our Cool and Airy Summer Fruit Pies.
- 1Place the nuts in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process into very small pieces, about 40 seconds. Scrape the sides and inner ridge of the bowl with a rubber spatula to release any accumulated bits of ground almond.
- 2Add the measured flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until reduced to pea-size pieces and the mixture looks like sand, about 20 to 30 (1-second) pulses.
- 3Drizzle in the ice water and lemon juice and pulse just until the dough comes together, about 12 (1-second) pulses.
- 4Sprinkle the dough evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Using a measuring cup or your fingers, evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (flour the cup occasionally to prevent it from sticking). Refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour.
- 5Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, making sure not to pierce the crust. Line it with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans, making sure they’re pushed up against the sides of the dough.
- 6Bake until the crust starts to set, about 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper (careful—it may stick a little) and continue to bake until the dough is dry to the touch and slightly brown around the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes more. (It doesn’t need to be golden brown, as the crust will bake more later.) Remove to a wire rack and set aside while you make the filling. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F.
For the filling:
- 1Place the apricots and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
- 2Set a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the apricot mixture through the strainer. Push on the mixture with the back of a ladle and discard the contents of the strainer. Measure 1 cup of the strained mixture and set aside; discard any excess.
- 3Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk to break them up; set aside.
- 4Place the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large, nonreactive saucepan and slowly whisk in the water until smooth. Place over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges of the pan, then continue cooking, whisking constantly, until thickened into a gel, about 10 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 5Transfer about 1/4 cup of the gel to the egg yolks and whisk to combine; set aside. Add the reserved apricot mixture to the saucepan with the gel and whisk to combine. Add the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, about 7 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 6Add the butter, let sit for 1 minute to melt slightly, and stir to incorporate. Pour the apricot filling into the crust and smooth it into an even layer. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
For the meringue:
- 1By hand, whisk the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time into the mixer bowl of reserved egg whites, making sure the sugar is incorporated before the next addition, until all of the sugar has been added; set aside.
- 2Bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer over high heat in a saucepan large enough to hold the bowl of the stand mixer over the water without touching it. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer.
- 3Place the mixer bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached 150°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 4 minutes. To check if the sugar is fully dissolved, carefully rub some of the mixture between your fingers—it should feel smooth without any sugar granules.
- 4Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and fit the mixer with a very clean whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and whisk on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium for 30 seconds, and then increase the speed to high for 30 seconds. Continue whisking on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form (the tips of the peaks should barely curl over when you lift out the whisk attachment), about 1 to 2 minutes more. Do not overwhisk.
- 5Using an offset spatula, spread about half of the meringue over the apricot filling in an even layer, making sure to cover about halfway over the edges of the crust (do not leave any holes, or the meringue will shrink as it cools and the filling will weep). Dollop the remaining meringue in heaping tablespoons over the top of the pie. Using the offset spatula, gently press the top of each dollop and quickly pull up and away to make swirled peaks.
- 6Bake until the peaks of the meringue are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack until the pie plate is cool to the touch before serving, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.