There are some good things that you can’t really have enough of, like the scent of warm bread baking, the feeling of finding matched socks in a tumble of clean laundry, or sunshine on your face on a very cold day. Other things—say, a cranberry cocktail topped with a chilled pour of Prosecco or Christmas music—are very nice but you could argue that you can very easily have too much of them.
But I could endlessly plant kisses on the cheek of a chubby baby. And I’d never get tired of the sensation of climbing into bed at night when your sheets have been freshly washed, giving them a crisp clean feeling and the light scent of laundry detergent. Or fresh mangosteen—I can’t eat enough of that. Or the way your body gets exhausted and spent after a run outside in the cold in the winter: never enough of that, allowing you to savor the simple pleasure of a shower, clean clothes, and a mug of tea.
I couldn’t hear I love you enough from the right people. I couldn’t read Harry Potter enough times. I would never say no to owning more fancy face masks.
And you might disagree with this last one (and that’s okay, let’s fight it out), but you really can’t have too much meringue on your pie. In fact, I’d argue that most people really don’t put nearly the proper amount. The very name of the dessert is lemon meringue pie, not lemon pie with a little simpering whisper of a meringue layer on top!
Pie is a lovely holiday recipe, and lemon in particular, as it brings such a brightness to an otherwise rather bland landscape of winter produce. I like to use a pretty classic recipe but then just double the meringue amount so you end up with drifts—nay snowbanks—of meringue.
Extra-Meringue Lemon Meringue Pie
For the crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
For the lemon filling
6 egg yolks
6 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup (60g) cornstarch
1 cup (230g) superfine sugar (granulated is fine)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the meringue
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
To make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, shortening, and salt until mixture is in coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse a few times. If the dough is very dry, add the remaining water. Don’t overpulse! Transfer the dough to the counter, press it into a disk, and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
To make the filling: Whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, sugar, and water to a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens and bubbles (stir occasionally to prevent scorching). Very gradually pour half of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour that entire mixture into the pan with the remaining hot liquid (this tempers the egg yolks). Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking as it thickens, then add the butter and stir until the butter melts. Remove from the heat, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let cool while you roll out the pie crust.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 10” circle, then transfer to a 9” pie plate and trim/crimp the edges. Prick the crust with a fork, fill it with pie weights, and bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 350°F and let cool slightly while you make the meringue.
To make the meringue: Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, beating as you go, until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
Pour the lemon filling into the pie crust and smooth the top. Spoon the meringue on top and sprinkle the top with a bit of shredded coconut, if you like. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly so it’s easier to slice before serving.