- 1 prepared frozen deep dish 9-inch pastry pie shell
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/ 2 cups cane sugar
- 1/ 3 cup plus two tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/ 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/ 2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, (about 3 lemons)
- 3 drops yellow food coloring, (optional for intensified color)
- 8 egg whites, (zero trace of yolk)
- 2 cups sugar
- pinch kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Prepare as instructed on package, poking bottom of crust with a fork and baking for recommended max time, usually 12 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with a whisk or fork. Place aside. In a large, non-stick saucepan over medium heat, mix sugar and cornstarch, adding water gradually, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Once at a boil, stir 1 minute more.
Add half of the mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly for 30 seconds to temper. Add mixture back to yolks. Bring to a boil and stir 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and optional food coloring until combined.
Pour hot mixture into pie shell. Bake 22-25 minutes, until center jiggles slightly and outer perimeter remains still.
Cool 20 minutes. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
In a large bowl, whisk to combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Fill a medium pot with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a simmer. Set a heatproof bowl over simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Add mixture to the bowl, stirring gently and consistently until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches a temperature of 175F degrees on a candy or laser thermometer. Mixture should have no grains of sugar in it.
Pour the hot mixture into a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Using whisk attachment, beat on medium-low utility foamy, 3-4 minutes.
Gradually increase to high speed, until stiff peaks form, resembling that of marshmallow fluff, drooping only slightly when lifted from the mixer.
Add vanilla extract. Mix 1 minute on medium speed just until incorporated.
Pour over chilled pie. Toast immediately with a kitchen torch. Serve immediately. Store in refrigerator.