Meringue Kissed Lemon Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

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photo courtesy of Eggland’s Best

Bursting with flavor my Meringue Kissed Lemon Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam is one of my most requested family recipes. Friends and family from Hawaii to Massachusettes and places in between know this one is, “Better than Birthday Cake”. There is no finer compliment than to have someone try my recipe and share their photo creations with me. It gives me great joy.

from my friend Cin in Hawaii

This pie features a buttery shortbread crust filled with the most luscious, silky smooth and tart lemon custard. Topped with the easiest no-fail wild berry jam and simple meringue stars this one is a real show-stopper. I am so proud that a panel of judges from Eggland’s Best chose it as Best in State and then Best in the Northwest Region based on taste and creativity.

Eggland’s Best eggs make the best desserts better

Give my recipe a try and tag me with your photo creation on instagram @goodgriefcook. If you would like to vote for my pie or any of the other top winners please check out America’s Best Recipe.

Meringue Kissed Lemon Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

Crust

2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs

3 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup milk, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

3 eggs, separated

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 cup 5% fat Greek yogurt

Topping

2 cups wild blueberries, fresh or frozen

½ cup Huckleberry preserves (you may substitute elderberry or blueberry)

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Meringue Kisses

3 egg whites (from separated eggs above), room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup super fine sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat oven 350F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. For the filling: In a heat-proof bowl or large measure with a spout, whisk ½ cup milk with cornstarch until blended. Add egg yolks, blend well and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk the remaining ½ cup of milk with the lemon juice, sugar and lemon zest until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just comes to a simmer. Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken and bubble. Let cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and incorporated. Whisk in yogurt until pudding is smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the filling to prevent it from forming a crust. Chill for 2 hours. Make the jam topping. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine wild blueberries and preserves, stirring, until preserves are melted, blueberries release their juice and mixture begins to bubble. Stir in cornstarch slurry to thicken the mixture. Let mixture bubble 1 more minute or until fully thickened. Cover and chill jam before spreading evenly over top of pie. Make meringue stars. Heat oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a stand mixer with whip attachment combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed until foamy. Slowly add sugar and once incorporated add lemon juice. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until meringue is very stiff and glossy.  Spoon meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 1-inch diameter kisses onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours or until light and dry. Garnish pie with meringue kisses just before serving.

Eggland’s Best is the only egg good enough for my family recipes because EB eggs not only offer the best taste and nutrition, but also are consistently perfect from one package to the next. I trust that every time I use EB eggs my recipes will be deliciously high in vitamins and omega 3 and I feel so good about feeding my family such a quality egg. I know this pie is truly the “Best Family Recipe” because whatever the occasion it is the most requested dessert. It even beats out a birthday cake.

❤ love always

shout-out to my Saucy Mamas who introduced me to Oregon huckleberry jam which was the inspiration for this pie

Comfort Dreams & Lemon Meringue Pie

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I am inspired to write this today after my FB cooking buddy, Lois, posted about dreaming of her dad. Lois took great care of her father and prior to his passing spoke with him on the phone on a daily basis. She had been struggling with her grief until her dad came to her in a dream. They were talking on the phone. Dreaming of a shared experience affirming his life brought her peace.

Lois with her dad, Jerry, and two sons

I had a comfort dream of my own. One year after William’s death, I realized I needed out of my old life…that I would never heal if I did not move on, move away and simply just take care of myself. It was my first brave decision…but one filled with incredible conflict, as I would be leaving our home in Connecticut that was filled with 30 years of delicious memories and the place my son adored.

Imagine me packing up his room. The scent of his cologne still on his pillow. His dirty hand-print on the wall. Touching his things I was transported back to the places we had been, the fun we had had and the plans we had made…. the memories flooded over me.  Preserving these memories would allow me to move forward, but how? On our very first night in the new house now in PA I had the most vivid dream. I got up from my bed and looked out the window and in the driveway was my son looking up at me. It was then I knew he goes where I go. I carry him in my heart.

a bittersweet moment as the peak of my pie hit the oven grate and pulled away

Comfort dreams are moments of light and hope. They are stories of support and faith and what is most precious. To tell the story is a way of moving our grief along, but also is a gift to those we share it with. We all heal in the telling of our stories. It’s an uncomfortable blessing to express our pain, but in doing so there is a release and relief. Thank you, Lois for having the courage to mourn out loud. I’d like to think that your dad was telling you in that dream that he is always with you and that everything is going to be all right.

In honor of Lois’ dad I am sharing a recipe for lemon meringue pie. It was one of Jerry’s favorites and a recipe I have been tinkering with recently. The mile high cloud of meringue featured in the first photo above is an Italian meringue made with roasted sugar. It is light and fluffy with less sticky sweetness than the meringue featured in my lattice recipe design. As much as I love the lattice design the real reason behind it was to use less of the meringue I did not want to eat. Delicious citrus fruit is abundant this time of year, but if you can’t find meyer lemons go ahead and use regular lemons which will yield just a slight more pucker power.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust*

1 ½ cups (6 oz) all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar plus additional for pie edge

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (4 oz) vegetable shortening, cold

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold water

1 egg white

Meyer Lemon Filling

2 eggs

7 egg yolks

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1 tablespoon meyer lemon zest

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Lattice Topping**

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crust combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl; cut in shortening. Add water and mix until just combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill 15 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Decorate edge with pastry cut-outs. Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and weigh down with dry beans or pie weights. Place pie dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Lightly brush edge of crust with egg white; sprinkle with sugar. Return crust to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until a light golden brown.  Reduce oven temperature to 325F.  Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add butter and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and reaches 170F. on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in heavy cream. Pour filling into warm pie shell.  For lattice topping, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar and vanilla beating to stiff peaks. Pipe meringue over pie in a lattice pattern. Bake 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool and chill pie before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*ready made pie crust can be substituted for home made crust

** I suggest taking your meringue to the next level with this mile high light Italian Meringue made with roasted sugar. To roast the sugar: spread 1/2 cup of sugar on a piece of foil and place it in a pie plate at 350F for 30 minutes. Then continue with this recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible

1/2 cup sugar (that you just roasted)

2 tablespoons water

4 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

In small heavy saucepan, (I use one that has a pouring spout edge), stir the sugar and water until sugar is moistened. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and turn heat to lowest setting or remove from heat as you attend to the egg whites. In stand mixer with whip attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat to stiff peaks. Increase the heat of the sugar syrup and boil until thermometer registers 236F. With mixer on high, immediately drizzle syrup into the egg whites avoiding the beaters. Beat for 2 minutes or until the mixer bowl no longer feels too hot to touch. Starting from the edges of the pie and covering the inside edge of the crust with meringue spread the meringue on top of the filling making swirls and peaks with a spatula. Bake the pie for 5 minutes at 350F to set the meringue and then place pie under broiler for 20 to 30 seconds for a deeper browning. You could also torch it.

Who Stole the Best Italian Cookie……?

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Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Remember this sing-song rhyme? Bakers with kids know it well. It’s sweet and fun just like my all time favorite Italian cookie which just happens to make the perfect dessert bite for an Easter or Mother’s Day celebration.

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Made with ricotta cheese these cookies are soft and cake-like. They absolutely melt in the mouth. Recently, I made them for a bridal shower. I had many requests for the recipe which brings me to their decorating versatility. They can be dressed up for any occasion and so not limited to Easter or Christmas when typically eaten in my family.

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The cookies  featured here are dressed for Easter, but add a little gel color to the icing and/or make a topping change and they can easily be featured at a baby shower or Mother’s Day brunch. Don’t hesitate to change up the flavoring, too. Any extract or citrus zest will play well.

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So who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

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The ones with the sprinkles on top!

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Annabelle stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Nice breakfast, huh? Grandma’s privilege.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
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1/2 (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon coconut extract

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract

2 teaspoons buttermilk or lime juice

Toppings

Sprinkles, coconut, finely chopped nuts

Heat oven 350F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add ricotta and zest; blend well. Add egg, vanilla and extract; blend again. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; add to dry ingredients and blend well. Chill dough for 30 minutes. Drop cookie batter by tablespoonfuls or use a cookie scoop onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. The cookies will look pale on top. Cool. For icing, mash powdered sugar, butter and salt together with the back of a spoon until butter is well incorporated into the sugar. Add flavoring and just enough buttermilk or lime juice to get a light icing consistency…more of a glaze than a thick icing. One at a time, dip top of cooled cookies into icing, letting excess drip off, and then immediately dip into one of the toppings. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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