Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie with Cactus Pear Glaze
Chef Stephan Pyles, Star Canyon, Dallas, TX
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 4-6 servings

    Pie Crust
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ vegetable shortening
  • 4-5 Tablespoons ice water
  • Dried beans or rice for weighting (blind-baking)
  • 1 egg white
  • Aluminum foil
    Pie Filling
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1½ cups hot tap water
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 7 egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the pie crust, preheat the oven to 425°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the shortening and incorporate with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of the water over the flour mixture in tablespoon increments while stirring with a fork. Form the dough into a ball and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle to 1/8-inch thickness. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie pan; trim and crimp the edges. Place the shell in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Remove the shell and prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Press foil snuggly over the bottom and sides of the crust. Pour rice or dried beans over the foil and bake in the oven for about 6 minutes. Whisk together egg white and remaining tablespoon of water in a bowl. Remove the foil from the pan and brush the sides and bottom of the crust with the egg wash. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool before adding the pie filling.

For the pie filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan and add the water while whisking to make a smooth paste. Place pan over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil, while stirring. Cook and stir until thickened, about one minute.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks while gradually adding about half the hot sugar mixture. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the yolks and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, the lemon zest and butter and return the pan to the heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil to thicken for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

For the meringue, preheat oven to 375°. In a large mixing bowl whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks; slowly incorporate the sugar and vanilla while whisking until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks.

Fill the cooled pie shell with the lemon filling and spread out evenly. Place the reserved lemon slices on top of the custard and spread the meringue evenly on top, piling it as high as possible and making sure it touches the crust all the way around to prevent shrinking. Create decorative peaks and valleys with a spatula. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Check to make sure meringue does not burn. Serve pie with the cactus pear glaze.

Cactus Pear Glaze

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 6 cactus pears*, peeled and chopped
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain to remove seeds. Chill and serve.

*Cactus Pears come from several varieties of cactus and are extremely popular in Mexico and Central and South America. They are also sometimes called Prickly Pears or Indian Figs. Cactus pears are available at most supermarkets.

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