Lighter Lemon Meringue Pie

It's hard to imagine a piecrust that scales back on butter and shortening, but our retooled version does just that, using more modest amounts (tablespoons instead of sticks or cups) of each ingredient. Picking up the slack is nonfat buttermilk, whose acidity helps make the dough tender. A little toasted wheat germ adds texture and a slight nuttiness to the crust. But the highlight is the ethereal filling, which bursts with lemon juice and ginger and is topped by a swirly cloud of meringue. So help yourself to a slice of heaven -- or even a generous wedge.

  • Servings: 8
  • Yield:
Lighter Lemon Meringue Pie

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2006


  • Lighter Piecrust
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 large egg yolks, plus 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a 9-by-1 1/2-inch flan ring or the ring of a springform pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 10 1/2-inch round, and fit into ring, pressing up sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Trim sides of dough to 1 inch. Line with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake shell until dry and beginning to brown around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove parchment and weights; continue baking until pale golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  3. Put 1 1/3 cups sugar, the cornstarch, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a medium saucepan; whisk in 1 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons zest, the lemon juice, and ginger; whisk to combine. Remove from heat, and add egg yolks. Return to heat, and cook, whisking, until bubbling in center, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour through a medium sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in remaining teaspoon zest. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into cooled shell. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.

  4. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the egg whites, and a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on high speed until medium glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.

  5. Heap meringue on top of chilled filling, leaving a 1-inch border. Place under broiler or use a kitchen torch to brown. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Note: The eggs in this recipe are not fully cooked. It should not be prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.


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