I always think of my dad when I think of lemon meringue pie. Or, as dad preferred to call it, “lemon icebox pie.” Every year on September 5 for 69 years, my mom would bake a fresh lemon meringue pie for my dad to celebrate his birthday. When my mom grew weary of baking, I was happy to intercept the kitchen torch and carry on the annual tradition of the lemon meringue birthday pie for dad.
This year we did not have dad to celebrate, but we still have one another and much to be grateful for on Thanksgiving. Although our celebration was smaller and less complicated this year, our plates were still filled with our family favorites, lemon pie included. In honor of dad and because we all love and miss dad and the pie, I decided to make a lemon meringue tart.
I used my mom’s traditional recipe which includes condensed milk for the lemon custard filling for the pie. Yes, it is super sweet. If you don’t wish to use condensed milk, I would recommend using my recipe for lemon curd as an option and an alternative for the lemon filling.
You can use a frozen pie crust, use your own recipe for a pie crust in a 9″ pie pan, or make my shortbread pastry crust for a 9″ tart pan, tart dough.
After the pie crust is prefaced, allow it to cool. Fill the pie crust with the thick lemon filling. Next, you can whip the egg whites with a little cream of tartar and sugar until they are stiff and hold a peak. Be careful not to overbeat the whites or they will become dry and they will not hold together. The cream of tartar serves to stabilize the egg whites and it keeps the sugar from crystallizing.
The peaks on the meringues will turn a beautiful golden color. Allow the pie to cool ad them place it in the refrigerator to cool and set. This pie is best if eaten the day or at least within 24 hours after baked. Happy birthday, Dad!