Friday, October 25, 2013

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Lemon Marshmallow Meringue Pie


I know, I know, I’m supposed to be writing about pumpkin, apples, cinnamon—not lemon, the most summery of fruits. But this recipe was practically begging to be made, all because of a bag of lemon-flavored marshmallows. And a slice of pie I ate a year ago.

Let’s start with the mallows: I’m a sucker for novelty foods, especially those involving marshmallow. So, naturally, when I spotted Lemon Meringue Campfire Mallow Bursts (i.e. off-brand fruity marshmallows) at Wal-Mart, I HAD to buy them. Usually, flavored mallows disappoint me. Take Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Mallows, for example, which taste like plain marshmallows that have been spritzed with pumpkin-scented room spray. 

But, WOW! These no-name marshmallows are amazing. The lemon flavor is intense and authentic, so good, in fact, that I nearly ate the entire bag in an evening. Which is why I melted them down into marshmallow crème to use as a topping for my lemon pie.

That brings me to the actual pie: I once had a piece of lemon meringue pie with marshmallow fluff instead of traditional meringue on top. I’ve gone back to the restaurant that served it, hoping for a second slice, but the place never had it again.

So, I’ve been forced to recreate it. I started with a basic graham cracker crust, then borrowed a lemony filling from a Bobby Flay dessert. Finally, I whipped up a batch of homemade Cool Whip, which I combined with my homemade marshmallow crème (these are the things I do when my husband is out of town).

The final result: a tart, beautiful pie, with just enough sweetness to bring me back for more. 

Lemon Marshmallow Meringue Pie

What you need

The crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp cinnamon

The filling
1 ½ cups white sugar
6 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup cold water
3 egg yolks, well beaten
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 Tsp lemon extract
1 Tsp lemon zest (optional)
3 drops yellow food coloring

The topping
1 bag of marshmallows (I used lemon-flavored ones)
2 tsp light corn syrup
1 pint heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tsp lemon extract
1 drop yellow food coloring

Put it all together
  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar with the melted butter, and press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Make the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan, then slowly incorporate the lemon juice and cold water. Add the egg yolks, and mix until smooth. Next, add the butter; gradually stir in the boiling water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. After boiling for 2 minutes, remove from the burner, and stir in the lemon extract, zest, and food coloring. Allow to cool half an hour before pouring into the pie crust. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  3. Make the topping: Place the marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl, and drizzle the corn syrup on top. Microwave for 30 seconds (no longer or the mallows could burn), and stir until the marshmallows are smooth and creamy. 
  4. Whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Add the lemon extract and food coloring. 
  5. Use an electric mixer to combine the marshmallow creme and the whipped cream mixture. Spread evenly over the chilled pie. Chill for another 4 hours before serving.


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