Developed to rival Thanksgiving turkey as Star for the Day, our best lemon meringue pie recipe is a showstopper any time of year. The towering concoction is impressive but not austere. Familiar yet refreshing—and you get to set the whole thing on fire (almost).
It starts with an exceptionally flaky pie crust, which comes from the technique of quartering your assembled pie dough and stacking the quadrants before rolling them out (a kind of low-key lamination). Note: This recipe makes enough pie dough for two single-crust pies. You can reduce the amounts by half, but why not make the second disk and pop it into the freezer? It will hold for up to 3 months; use it to make another dessert (say, chocolate pudding pie) down the line.
For bold flavor, the pie filling gets the zest of 4 whole lemons. If you don’t have a rasp-style grater (or yours is dull), this is a good time to buy one. Otherwise, peel the yellow skin of the lemon, avoiding the bitter white pith, with a vegetable peeler, then place the strips of lemon zest in a blender or food processor with the water listed in the directions, and blitz until puréed before whisking it into the egg and cornstarch mixture.
You can easily break up the work over a few days if you’d like. The lemon curd filling will need to chill in the prebaked pie shell for at least 2 hours before serving, but it will hold for up to 3 days. The egg whites will also be fine in the fridge for a few days; wait until you’re ready to serve to make the meringue topping. When medium-stiff peaks form, transfer the fluffy garnish to a piping bag for the dotted look pictured, or just pile and swirl it on top of the pie and singe it to finish. While a broiler will work, this recipe is an excellent excuse to buy a kitchen torch.