Upside-Down Mini Lemon Meringue Pies
We long for the mouth-puckering flavor of a lemon meringue pie. The effort it takes to make a crust and filling and assemble said pie? Not so much. And lo, the upside-down lemon meringue pies of our dreams were born. Upside-down pie? Allow us to explain.
These cuties are assembled in cups—or bowls, jars or whatever vessel you have—to eliminate the need for fussing with a pie crust. (Our graham cracker crumble provides just the right texture and flavor, minus the effort.) The filling The filling is made on the stovetop, and the meringue is cooked so you can eat it without baking or torching it. (Oh, and everything can be made ahead.)
Whip up a few for your next dinner party…or whenever a dessert craving strikes.
Graham Cracker Crumble
1½ sleeves graham crackers (about 10 crackers)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup lemon juice (from 4 to 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1½ cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1. Make the Graham Cracker Crumble: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they form fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the sugar; stir to combine. Add the melted butter, and using your clean hands or a silicone spatula, mix until the crumbs are moistened. (It should feel like wet sand.)
2. Spread the crumb mixture into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and toasty, 7 to 9 minutes, stirring with a spatula halfway through.
3. Make the Lemon Curd: Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a large nonreactive bowl (e.g., glass), whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Set the bowl over the saucepan and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. (It should coat the back of a spoon and hold a line when you run your finger through it.)
4. Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. Make the Meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed to soft peaks, about 3 minutes. (When lifted, the whisk should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that collapse back onto themselves.)
6. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.
7. With the mixing running, slowly and carefully drizzle in the hot sugar syrup. Increase the speed to high and whip to medium-firm peaks, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with one corner snipped, if desired.
8. To assemble the “pies,” spoon a few tablespoons of the lemon curd into the bottom of ramekins, cups or shallow bowls. Top each with a few tablespoons of the graham cracker crumb, followed by a dollop or piping of the meringue. (You can toast the meringue with a kitchen torch, if desired.)
Note: Both the lemon curd and graham cracker crumb can be made ahead. The curd will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The crumb will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. To use, thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.