Happy Pi(e) Day!!
I don’t bake pies often. One of my dearest friends is a pie-baking goddess and so mostly, I just enjoy the pies she labors over. But every once in a while, like oh say, every March 14th, I get inspired.
Deciding what kind to make today was easy. Hands down, no questions asked, my favorite pie is a classic lemon meringue pie. (Key lime is a close second, but let’s save that for another time…) So naturally, today is all about lemons, shortbread, and light-as-a-cloud meringue. With a twist: Lavender.
Lavender is both a delicate and a bold flavor and it can sometimes be hard to find the right balance when you’re working it into a baked good, drink, or other dish. I wanted the lavender to be very present in my pie today without being overpowered by the lemon, but I didn’t want it to be so strong that it started to taste… soapy. Ick.
Which is why I decided to incorporate the lavender into the meringue top, like a little floral cloud. Achieving this really couldn’t be any easier! It takes only a matter of seconds to whip up a lavender sugar that can then be whipped with egg whites into a silky meringue.
This pie is easy as can be, but can take a little while to put together. Luckily, there are a couple steps you can do a day before to save you time.
I’d love to see how yours turns out! Tag your photo using #dinnergeeks on Instagram so I can take a look! 🙂
There are so many fantastic recipes out there for a classic lemon curd. I encourage you to follow your favorite, or follow my go-to from The Pioneer Woman.
- Zest 2 lemons and juice as many lemons as you need to get 1/2 cup of juice. Tip: roll each lemon between your palm and the countertop a bit before you juice them. This really helps coax out as much juice as possible!
- Cut 12 tablespoons of butter into 1/2 in. thick slices and pop back in the fridge so they don’t melt.
- Crack 8 egg yolks into a glass heat-proof bowl and beat eggs for 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and beat for another minute.
- Stir in lemon juice and zest.
- Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook curd, stirring constantly, until it thickens (about 20 minutes).
- Once the curd begins to thicken, start adding butter. Add one piece at a time and stir until fully melted and incorporated before adding the next.
- Remove from heat and strain through a sieve. Cover and store in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
- Cream together 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Slowly mix in 1 cup of flour and a pinch of salt.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Press into 1 large or 3 small greased tart pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove and let cool completely.
The lavender meringue:
- To make the lavender sugar, place 1 tablespoon of dried lavender buds in a food processor. Grind for 15 seconds or so until it has been cut into small pieces.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and grind for another 15-20 seconds until lavender is fully incorporated. (You’ll still be able to see tiny specks of lavender, but this is ok! It won’t negatively affect your meringue.)
- In a large bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar until frothy.
- Slowly beat in 6 tablespoons of the lavender sugar. Continue to beat until stiff and glossy.
Putting it all together:
- Fill each tart with a layer of lemon curd.
- Top with meringue, being sure to seal meringue to the pie crust to avoid any direct heat reaching the curd. Sealing it in this way will prevent “weeping,” or water pooling between the curd and the meringue.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until tops are very lightly golden brown.
- Slowly cool the meringues completely. Tip: Cooling these too quickly can make your meringue fall. I like to first turn the oven off and keep the door shut for a few minutes, then crack the oven door for another 20 minutes or so, then pull the tarts out of the oven to cool on the baking sheet, before finally transferring them to a wire rack. Patience is key at this stage!!
- Serve immediately as is, or garnish with some fresh lemon, and enjoy.
- 5 lemons
- 12 T . butter
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 c . sugar
- 1/2 c . butter softened
- 1/3 c . sugar
- 1 c . flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 T . dried lavender
- 6 T . sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 t . cream of tartar
Zest 2 lemons and juice enough lemons to get a 1/2 c. of juice.
Cut 12 T. butter into small slices and place back in fridge for now.
Beat egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl for 1 minute.
Add sugar and beat for an additional minute. Stir in juice and zest.
Place bowl over a simmering pot of water and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. About 20 minutes.
Once the curd begins to thicken, add butter once piece at a time and stir until fully incorporated.
Strain curd through fine-mesh sieve, cover, and refrigerate.
Cream together sugar and butter.
Slowly mix in flour and salt. Turn onto a floured surface and form into a ball.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Press into tart pans and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make the lavender sugar, grind lavender in food processor for 15 seconds. Add sugar and grind for an additional 15-20 seconds.
In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.
Beat in sugar slowly and continue mixing until stiff and glossy.
Layer curd in cooled tart shells and top with meringue, being sure to "seal" meringue to the tart crust to avoid "weeping."
Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, or until just golden brown.
Let cool very slowly by cracking oven door for first 20 minutes before removing to counter top to fully cool.
Serve immediately and enjoy!