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Lemon Meringue Pie

from Killer Pies by Stephanie Anderson
Lemon Meringue Pie

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 fully baked 10-inch pie shell

5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in
Killer Pies
by Stephanie Anderson from Chronicle Books

The pies at Wanda's Pie in the Sky are seriously delicious pieces of heaven, and owner Wanda Beaver has witnessed firsthand the ardent cravings people get for a slice of old-fashioned pie. Toronto is home to a huge, annual film festival-second in prestige only to Cannes-and year after year during the September festival, Wanda serves pie to hotshot movie executives from L.A., some of whom come in more than once a day while they're in town. Puzzled by their insatiable appetite for pie, she realized that even though they've got big-time careers and live in a city where dining out at the trendiest restaurants is akin to a competitive sport, pie reminds them of their mothers, their grandmothers, and their youth.

Beaver traces her love of pie back to her childhood spent in Ontario's Niagara fruit-belt region, where at the age of nine, she baked her first cherry pie. Later, as a college student, she baked a peach pie for a friend whose roommate happened to manage a restaurant. The pie was a huge hit, and Beaver soon found herself abandoning her studies to bake pies for the roommate's restaurant. She transported the pies using a handheld carrier created by an industrial design student, who later became her husband.

Beaver talks about pies with unadulterated love and a healthy dose of humor. She calls her lemon meringue pie the "Marilyn Monroe of pies: tart, blonde, and voluptuous." She encourages at-home bakers to be patient, as this pie, with its sky-high meringue and creamy filling, can be a bit tricky to master. The result of your labors, she promises, will be as unforgettable as Monroe herself.

Boil the water in a large saucepan and remove from the heat for 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the water in the pan, whisking until completely incorporated. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and is thick. Add 1 cup of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks in a separate bowl, stirring until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the yolk mixture to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until well mixed. Add the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal the top completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust. Makes one 10-inch single-crust pie.

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