Here is a little twist on lemon meringue using those gorgeous pink grapefruits that are at the height of their season right now. One frustration I have with meringue pies is that the meringue tends to weep and causes the filling to be a bit runny. There are two ways to get your pie to set: chill it (and ignore the drops of condensation on the meringue) or use cornstarch in the filling. Classic citrus curd (the filling in lemon meringue) recipes use egg yolks to thicken the filling. I like the certainty of egg yolks and cornstarch. I also like my pie to be cold. Long story short, I served this at room temperature and it was a tiny bit runnier than I would have liked. The pink grapefruit gives the curd a tart and slightly bitter edge that we really enjoyed. Add a drop of food color if you want it pink. Mine was a brilliant shade of orangey-yellow. You could also skip the pie, make the grapefruit curd and spread it on your toast!
- 1 pie crust, unbaked, click here for my favorite pastry recipe
For the filling
- 1 C. sugar
- 8 egg yolks, reserve the whites for the meringue
- Zest and juice of 1-2 pink grapefruits – you need 1 C. juice
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick, cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1 t. water
For the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 t. cream of tartar
- 1/2 C. sugar
- 1 t. vanilla (clear if you have it)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pastry in a glass pie dish. Pierce the pastry all over with a fork. Bake until the crust is cooked through and beginning to turn golden brown, about ten to 12 minutes.
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, zest, juice, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the butter and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, about five minutes. Don’t bring it to a boil or the eggs will curdle. Combine the cornstarch and water in a smooth paste and add it to the saucepan, whisking constantly. When the mixture just begins to simmer, it should thicken considerably. Simmer and whisk for about one minute. Strain the mixture into your baked pie shell and chill.
To make the meringue, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer until foamy. Add the sugar slowly, about a tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for about four or five minutes longer, or until glossy, stiff peaks form.
Spread the meringue on top of the chilled pie- you are going for big swirls and swoops, not a smooth surface. Bake for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees just to brown the meringue a bit. Chilling the pie may cause the meringue to shrink or to form little beads of condensation. But it will still taste wonderful!