Author Notes: This pie is a creamy twist on traditional lemon meringue. The filling is super easy to make, and the mascarpone makes the whole pie super rich and decadent tasting, even though it has fewer eggs than many lemon curd fillings may have. Be sure to check out the full article on how to make the meringue anemones. —Erin McDowell
Food52 Review: Featured in: 4 Tricks to Be a Pie Overachiever. —The Editors
Makes: one 9-inch pie
Prep time: 1 hrs 45 min
Cook time: 55 min
recipe for single-crust pie dough (my favorite is here: https://food52.com/recipes…)
cup (226 g) fresh squeezed lemon juice
large (114 g) eggs
large (81 g) egg yolks
cup (99 g) granulated sugar
cup (114 g) mascarpone cheese
pinch fine sea salt
large (90 g) egg whites
cup (198 g) granulated sugar
cup (60 g) water
Poppyseeds, as needed for finishing
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out half of the dough into a circle 1/4-inch thick. To transfer the dough to the pie pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, starting at the far edge of the round. With the pie pan in front of you, start at the edge closest to you and gently unfurl the dough into the pan. Press gently to make sure the crust settles all the way to the bottom, but be careful not to poke any holes in the dough. Trim away the excess dough, leaving a ½ inch overhang all around. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Tuck the excess dough under at the edges, pressing lightly to help “seal” the dough to the outer rim of the pie pan. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Crimp the edges of the piecrust as desired (I used a fork to keep it simple since I was going crazy later with flowers).
- Prick the dough all over with a fork. Cut a square of parchment slightly larger than the pie pan. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust on the stone or bottom rack just until the edges barely begin to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the parchment and weights and return the pan to the oven for another 2 to 4 minutes, just until slightly more golden around the edges and the base looks dry. Let cool completely.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. To make the filling, whisk the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk well until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Pour into the cooled par-baked crust.
- Bake the pie until the custard is set at the edges—it may still have a slight jiggle in the very center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely.
- To make the meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
- Combine the sugar and water in a medium pot and stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. When it begins to boil, stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the pot (if any sugar crystals have washed up on the sides, brush them away using a pastry brush dipped in cool water). Continue to cook the syrup until it reaches 240° F (final desired temperature).
- As soon as the sugar hits 230° F, begin whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed. The goal is to have the egg whites at soft peaks when the sugar reaches the 240° F.
- With the mixer running, add the sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whip on high speed until the mixture reaches stiff peaks and the bowl is no longer noticeably warm to the touch. The meringue should be smooth and glossy, not clumpy or dry.
- Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a rose tip (such as Ateco #127). If you have one, it can be helpful to place the pie plate on a cake turntable. If not, you can just turn it on your work surface while you pipe. Hold the bag so the tip is almost parallel to the surface of the pie.
- Each petal is piped almost in the shape of a heart. Be sure the wider side of the tip is facing toward the center of where you’d like the flower to be, and the thinner side is facing outward (this makes the more delicate outer edge of the petal). Apply gentle pressure to the bag while you move your wrist to create a heart shape – this is the first petal. Start the next petal where the first one ends—it’s ok if they overlap a little! Repeat the process until you have five petals total.
- Repeat the process until you’ve piped as many flowers as you like. Gently spoon poppyseeds into the center to create the seed heads.
Photo by Julia Gartland