A cute mini version of springtime favorite lemon meringue pie! Flaky crust, tart lemon filling, and fluffy meringue, all in one bite! Garnish this light and refreshing spring dessert with lemon peel twists. Recipe courtesy of the American Egg Board.
For neat slices, dip knife into glass of water, letting excess water drip off, before each cut. This prevents the meringue from sticking to knife and tearing it. Be sure to cut completely through the crust.
A hot filling is important. The heat of the filling cooks the bottom of the meringue and prevents it from weeping and creating a slippery layer between filling and topping. Set up your equipment and measure meringue ingredients before you make the filling, working quickly to make meringue before filling cools.
To check if sugar is dissolved, rub a bit of meringue between your thumb and forefinger. If sugar is dissolved, it will feel completely smooth. If it feels grainy, continue beating.
What's a soft peak? To check for soft peaks, stop the mixer and lift the beater. The peaks left in the meringue should curl at the tips. If the peaks stand straight and tall (stiff peaks), the meringue has been overbeaten.
Anchor the meringue. Be sure to attach the meringue to the crust all around the edge of the pie. This prevents the meringue from pulling away from the edge during baking.
Beads may form on meringue when refrigerated; gently touch beads with tip of paper towel to absorb.
Refrigerate any leftover pie promptly.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in the water and lemon juice until smooth. Add the egg yolks; stir until blended. Add the butter.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat; simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon peel; set aside.
Immediately make the meringue. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water in 1-cup glass measure. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave until the mixture boils, 15 to 30 seconds longer. Remove; cover.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a standing mixer fitter with the whisk attachment on high speed until foamy. Beating constantly, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the sugar is dissolved before adding the next. Continue beating until whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Beating constantly, add in the cornstarch paste, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat in the vanilla.
Pour the hot filling evenly into six 4-inch mini baked piecrusts. Quickly spread the meringue evenly over the filling, starting at the edge and sealing to the crust all around; swirl with the back of spoon. Bake in the upper third of the oven until lightly browned, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve freshly made pie at room temperature, or refrigerate, uncovered. Garnish with lemon peel twists and fresh mint.