Strawberry Meringue Pie

Adapted from Still Life with Menu
Preparation time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 9-inch pie

This pie is cheerful, refreshing, and very pink. It tastes best if eaten the day it's made.

The crust can be made several days ahead and refrigerated, unbaked, in an airtight plastic bag. It can also be frozen.

For the filling, separate the eggs well ahead of time, so both the yolks and whites can come to room temperature.

1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour (plus extra for rolling)
6 tablespoons cold butter
Approximately 3 tablespoons cold milk
  1. Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut the butter into small pieces, add it to the flour, then pulse until it becomes a uniform mixture resembling coarse cornmeal.
  2. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, pausing after each addition until the dough holds together. (You may not need all of the milk.)
  3. Flour a clean, dry surface, and roll out the dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan, using extra flour to prevent sticking as you roll. Form a crust with artfully fluted edges.
  4. To bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a piece of foil on the inside of the crust, and add about 1/1 2 cups pie weights or raw, dried beans, spreading them evenly. (This will help the crust keep its shape as it bakes without filling.) Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights or beans. Continue to bake the empty crust another 4 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly before filling.

3 large eggs
4 cups sliced strawberries
4 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1 1.2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  1. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a larger one. Cover both bowls and set aside.
  2. Place the strawberries in a medium-sized saucepan. Without adding any liquid, cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes over medium heat, until soup-like. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in another, larger saucepan, combine the cornstarch or arrowroot, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Stir in the lemon juice, whisking until uniform.
  4. Beat the egg yoks until smooth, then drizzle them into the cornstarch mixture, beating constantly.
  5. Continue beating the mixture as you slowly pour in the hot strawberries with all their liquid. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture until thick, stirring constantly (but not too fast) with a wooden spoon. This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Set the strawberry mixture aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325°F. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
  8. Transfer the strawberry filling to the crust, and spoon the beaten egg whites over the top, spreading the meringue to the edges of the crust.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the meringue is delicately browned. Cool thoroughly (but do not chill) before serving.
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