A friend of ours celebrated a birthday recently, and I was looking for something easy to bring. Something that shared well, and something that wouldn't over-shadow the cake his wife bought him. A dip seemed like the perfect option. This dip, lemon meringue pie with pie crust dippers:
The lemon flavor is bright and citrusy and collides perfectly with the sweet toasted meringue top. I served this with homemade pie crust dippers, but store bought pie crusts cut to size, vanilla wafers, or graham crackers would dip perfectly, too.
Zest from 3-4 lemons (about 2 tablespoon)
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolk
2/3 cup lemon juice (from 6 small lemons)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Zest the lemon into a small bowl. Whisk the eggs together with the zest.
2. Heat the lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan until simmering but not boiling. While whisking continuously, slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs in a slow but steady stream.
3. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium low until the mixture registered 160 degrees on a digital or candy thermometer, about 3 minutes. The spatula should leave a small trail across the bottom of the pan that fills in on itself a little quickly, but not too fast.
4. Immediately remove from heat, stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and a pinch salt.
5. Strain the mixture through a very fine wire mesh sieve. Place into your serving dish of choice (I used a small 7"x11" glass pyrex). Set aside.
6. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Beat in salt. While this is going, start the sugar syrup. Don't let the eggs over mix, or the eggs will start to separate and become grainy. If you notice soft peaks before your sugar syrup is ready, reduce speed to low, but keep stirring.
7. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup of water. Heat over medium-low until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 238 degrees.
8. With the mixer running on medium, slowly pour the syrup down the bowl of the stand mixer and beat until the meringue yields stiff peaks and is glossy. Continue beating on low until cool.
9. Layer the meringue over the lemon layer. You can spread it evenly with an offset spatula then make swirls, or you can pipe with a piping bag and a star attachment for a more decorative look.
10. Right before serving, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toast meringue for 4-5 minutes until the top is lightly golden. You could also broil for a few minutes or use a kitchen torch.
I served this with home made pie crust dippers. I followed Smitten Kitchen's All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough recipe. After I rolled out the dough I melted a tablespoon of butter and brushed it over the dough and sprinkled with sugar. Then, I used a pastry cutter to make triangles, but you could use cookie cutters to make cute shapes, too. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 17 minutes, until the edges started to slightly brown. Cooled on a baking rack and dipped and these were extraordinary!
Inspired from Something Swanky
Adaptation ideas taken from SYHO and I Bake It, You Eat It
Meringue recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit