Frozen Lime Meringue Pie

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    8 to 10

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C for the almonds; broiler for the meringue
Baking Time 7 to 9 minutes for the almonds; less than 1 minute for the meringue

This pie for lime lovers was adapted from one of my most spectacular cake recipes: The Lemon Canadian Crown in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, which features a semi-frozen citrus custard filling.

Plan Ahead Freeze the pie filling for at least 5 hours or up to 5 days ahead.

Ingredients

Vanilla Almond Crumb Crust

VOLUME WEIGHT
sliced almonds, preferably unblanched ½ cup 1.8 ounces 50 grams
vanilla wafers 1 cup crumbs (after grinding), lightly packed 4.2 ounces 120 grams
sugar 1 tablespoon 0.5 ounce 13 grams
fine sea salt 2 pinches . .
unsalted butter, melted 4 tablespoons (½ stick) 2 ounces 57 grams

Lime Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
lime zest, finely grated 2 teaspoons, loosely packed . 4 grams
3 (to 4) large eggs, separated, at room temperature
yolks tablespoons (52 ml) 2 ounces 56 grams
whites ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (89 ml), divided 3.2 ounces 90 grams
sugar ¾ cup, divided 5.3 ounces 150 grams
lime juice, freshly squeezed ½ cup (118 ml) 4.4 ounces 126 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
heavy cream, cold cups (296 ml) 10.2 ounces 290 grams

Meringue Topping

VOLUME WEIGHT
4 large egg whites, at room temperature ½ cup (118 ml) 4.2 ounces 120 grams
cream of tartar ½ teaspoon . 0.8 gram
powdered sugar cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) 1.3 ounces 38 grams

Special Equipment

One baking sheet | One 9 inch pie plate

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Toast the Almonds

Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Cool completely.

Make the Crumb Crust

Food Processor Method Process the wafers with the almonds, sugar, and salt until the cookies become fine crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated.

Hand Method Place the wafers in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into fine crumbs. Use a nut grater to grind the almonds fine but not powder-fine. In a medium bowl, combine the wafers, almonds, sugar, and salt and toss with a fork to blend. Stir in the melted butter and toss to incorporate it.

Form and Chill the Pie Shell

Scrape the mixture into the pie plate and, using your fingers, begin by pressing the mixture evenly into the bottom and partway up the sides. To help make the bottom even, use a flat-bottom measuring or custard cup to smooth the crumbs over the bottom. To create an attractive top edge, as you press the crumbs against the sides and up above the rim, use your forefinger to press against them from the other direction, forming a little ridge or peak. (Chilling the crust for a few minutes firms the butter and makes this task easier.) Refrigerate the completed pie shell while making the filling.

The pie shell can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for about 6 months.

Make the Lime Filling

Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a large bowl containing the lime zest.

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, tablespoons/37 ml/1.3 ounces/36 grams of the egg whites, all but 2 tablespoons/0.9 ounce/25 grams of the sugar, the lime juice, and salt. (Refrigerate the remaining whites for the meringue.) Set the double boiler over simmering water (do not let the bottom of the container touch the water). Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides with a silicone spatula, until the mixture has thickened and will pool lightly when a little is dropped on its surface, about 7 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should read no higher than 180° to 182°F/82° to 83°C.)

Immediately scrape the mixture into the strainer and press all of it through. Stir to incorporate the lime zest evenly. Let the mixture cool completely to the touch, gently stirring every 15 minutes, about 1 hour at room temperature, or place in an ice water bath, gently stirring often, for about 15 minutes.

Whip the Cream

Into the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the cream. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (Chill the whisk beater alongside the bowl.)

Starting on low speed and gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, whip the cream just until thickened and it mounds very softly when dropped from a spoon. Do not overwhip, because the whipped cream will continue to thicken after it is mixed with the lime mixture. Using a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or large spatula, stir about ½ cup of the whipped cream into the lime mixture to lighten it. Scrape in the remaining whipped cream and gently but thoroughly fold it into the mixture until only a few streaks remain. Switch to a silicone spatula and continue folding, reaching to the bottom, until the mixture is uniform in color.

Freeze the Filling

Scrape the filling into the pie shell and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula. The filling will fill the pie shell to just below its rim. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and freeze it for a minimum of 5 hours or up to 5 days.

Preheat the Oven

Position an oven rack so that the rim of the pie crust will be about 4 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler. If using an electric broiler, preheat for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Make the Meringue Topping

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Sift the powdered sugar evenly over the surface and continue beating until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.

Compose the Pie

Scrape the meringue on top of the lime filling. Using a small metal spatula, spread it evenly into a dome. Bring the meringue right up against the pie crust so that it attaches to the pie crust. (This will keep the meringue from shrinking and separating from the pie crust.) Make swirls and peaks in the meringue.

Place the pie on a baking sheet, set it under the broiler, and allow the meringue to turn golden brown. It will take less than 1 minute. Start checking at about 10 seconds and watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove it from the broiler. Alternatively, use a torch to brown the meringue.

Chill the Pie

Immediately return the pie to the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 3 weeks. If freezing longer than 1 hour, after the first hour, cover the top with plastic wrap.

Serve the Pie

The ideal temperature to serve the pie is when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 28° to 32°F/-2° to 0°C. The filling is most delicious when very cold but creamy. Depending on the freezer temperature and room temperature, it will require anywhere from 1 to 1½ hours at room temperature to reach the ideal consistency.

To release the pie from the pan, either wipe the bottom and sides of the pan with a dish towel that has been run under very hot water and wrung out (it will be necessary to repeat this several times) or lower the pie plate carefully into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Use a thin sharp blade to cut the pie. There is no need to wet it between slices if the pie has been allowed to soften. (The unsoftened pie can be sliced with a hot wet knife and the slices allowed to sit for 30 minutes or more before serving.)

Store

Airtight: freezer, 3 weeks.