Deep dish pie is something my dad has been trying to do for years. Every time we walk past pie plates, we would look to see if any were deep dish. None were, so we gave up looking. Fast forward to this past December, I was looking at recipes when I saw Bake or Break’s deep dish pecan pie, which she cleverly used a springform pan for the crust. Oh I have that! I made her pie for New Year’s Eve, which lead me to think about making these Mini Deep Dish Lemon Meringue Pies. Mini deep dish pies mean smaller portion sizes, and since the recipe makes two pies, it’d be perfect for date night.
I chose Lemon Meringue Pie because custard pies are my nemesis and because lemon is one of my favorites. I have failed over and over again in having the filling not ooze out everywhere when cut. I figured if I failed with a mini deep dish pie, it wouldn’t be as devastating as a regular-sized pie. Fortunately, it all stayed together. Success!
Several people asked me why my pies failed in the past. My guesses were I didn’t cook the filling long enough and/or I didn’t chill the pie long enough. I made sure I didn’t rush anything to ensure it would set up. The moment of truth came when I cut the pie. I never knew cutting pie could be so stressful.
I have to give a nod to Kerrygold Butter. I used their Irish butter in the pie crust and filling. Usually I’m not a big fan of pie crusts, but I ate every last crumb. Several people commented on how good the crust was. I do need to learn how to roll dough into a circle. Patching pieces together in the pan works if you are rolling-impaired like I am.
The cornstarch in the meringue is a little trick I learned from the recipe I used. It helps prevent it from shrinking or weeping.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese. softened
- 1 cup flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 egg white
- Pinch of salt
- Wrap the outside of two 4-inch springform pans with aluminum foil to help prevent leaks.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually beat in the flour and sugar. Divide and shape the dough into two flat disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough into a circle little bit bigger than one springform pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (if the dough breaks, patch into pieces). Repeat with the remaining disk.
- Prick holes in the bottom of each pie with a fork. Press a piece of foil snugly into each pan to cover the bottom and sides. Fill with pie weights, rice, or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; bake for another 7-8 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350F degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, water, cornstarch, and salt. Heat until boiling, whisking constantly. Boil for a few minutes or until the mixture is smooth and almost transparent. Remove the pan from the heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk some of the hot sugar mixture into the yolk mixture. Return the yolk mixture to the saucepan. Heat and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes or until thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter. Fill the cooled pie shells with hot filling. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from the heat.
- In a clean medium bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Increase the speed, add salt, and beat until soft peaks form (when you pull the beaters straight up, the peaks will form but the tips will fall over). Pour the sugar mixture in a fine stream while beaters are running. Beat until stiff peaks form (when you pull the beaters straight up, the peaks won’t fall over).
- Top both pies with the meringue, making sure that the pie is completely sealed (if there are holes in the meringue, there will be a mess). Bake 10-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.
Adapted from Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham
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