When it comes to dessert, more is more. I’m not talking about flavors, necessarily, who would want to get in the way of something as pristine and beautiful as a ripe piece of fruit? I’m referring to the visual. Why do a two layer cake when a three layer cake would have more impact. If the peaches are insane right now, serve them whole with a dish of honey for guests to drizzle. If there’s chocolate going on top, cover the dessert in a sea of it. Go big, be extreme. It can have such a wonderful impact.
That is where the idea for the double decker lemon meringue pie came from. I saw photos of gorgeous pavlova cakes and thought, why not try this idea with pie? I was a little nervous, since meringue has a habit of being capricious, but the results were fabulous. The main trick is to let everything set in the fridge for a little bit, in the cake pan. Enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE LEMON MERINGUE PIE:
For one 9 inch pie
1 recipe graham pretzel crust (recipe below)
1 recipe lemon curd (recipe below)
1 meringue topping recipe (recipe below)
To build the double decker pie, put half of the chilled lemon curd on top of the crust, then follow with the middle meringue layer. Add the other half of lemon curd on top of that, and then finish with the top meringue layer. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until the curd has set. To serve, remove the springform pan and set on a cake platter. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (GRAHAM PRETZEL CRUST)
A fully baked crust can get hard in the fridge so I par bake mine. You can also skip the baking process all together and just use raw crust.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (or with your hands) until evenly distributed and clumping a bit. Spread evenly into a 9 inch spring form pan, patting down with your hands. Pop in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, until deeper in color. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter completely.
INGREDIENTS (LEMON CURD)
2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
12 large eggs
3 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2 quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill completely in the fridge.
INGREDIENTS (MERINGUE TOPPING)
powdered sugar, for prepping the pan
10 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine or baker’s sugar
Pre Heat Oven to 400 F.
To prepare the cake pans, take two 10-inch cake pans (the meringues will shrink, so you want to go one inch up to compensate) and grease them lightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and rotate to cover the pans, dumping out the excess. Then add a piece of parchment on the bottom of the pan, to really insure that the meringues are coming out. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and very gradually add the sugar.
Pour into two cake pans. Smooth one out completely (this will be your middle layer) and use the back of a spoon to create peaks on the other one (this is your top layer).
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside the meringues on the counter until cool, then, if necessary, slice around the edges with a knife, gently tip the cake pan, and slide the meringue out onto a plate. Hold until you build the pie.