“Whenever I’m making my lemon meringue pie I always think of it as the pie of second chances.” – Briana Carson, Owner of Crave Pie Studio.
“Whenever I’m making my lemon meringue pie I always think of it as the pie of second chances. When I dropped out of culinary school and devoted myself to making pie, I was totally obsessed, and was making pie after pie. Near where I lived there was a farm stand store. And I thought, “Maybe some day I can sell pies to the farm stand.” So I went in and asked the lady, “Could I give you pies and you can try them for me? And maybe some day if you like them enough you can buy them.” So I started bringing her pies and giving her pies.
One day she asked for a lemon meringue pie, so I made her one. And I called the next day to ask her how she liked it. She was not very friendly. She said it was just horrible, that it didn’t set up, and that it was runny when she went to serve it. And she was embarrassed. And she sounded really angry. So I was very apologetic and apologized profusely, “I’m really sorry that it didn’t turn out right. Can I make you another pie? Can I have another chance?” And I remember her saying, “Hold on a moment.” And I could hear her talking to her husband in the background. And she got back on the phone and said, “Nope. No second chances for Briana.” Those were her words. “No second chances for Briana.”
And I was exhausted, my husband had just deployed, and I was emotional. And I was just devastated and began to ugly sob. It hurt me to my core. I remember my husband Greg was Skyping me from his location, and I turned on the computer but wouldn’t turn on the video because I didn’t want him to see me crying. But he could hear it in my voice and said, “What’s wrong honey?” He heard me so upset. And I said through tears, “She told me I can’t have a second chance!” I was so upset.
It took me awhile not to have my feelings hurt. But eventually I realized that, actually, there ARE second chances. The God I know has new mercy every day. So now every time I make lemon meringue pie I’m reminded that there are always second chances: for me, for that lady, for all of us.”
Lemon-Grapefruit Meringue Pie
This was a cool story to hear. I was inspired by Briana’s honesty, vulnerability, and her message. It’s a message I think we need to tell ourselves and extend to others more often!
This lemon-grapefruit meringue pie recipe is inspired by Briana’s story. I’ve never made a lemon meringue before. I have heard how challenging it can be, and I’m always up for a challenge! I decided to add a little grapefruit because I love that flavor. Follow this recipe and you can benefit from my failings as I tried to get this right, and learn a few tips I stumbled across in the process.
Some quick tips: add cream of tartar and corn starch to your meringue to make the bubbles stronger and sturdier. Make the meringue immediately after finishing the filling, adding it to the top of the hot pie filling. Then bake again until nicely browned. Enjoy!
Lemon-Grapefruit Meringue Pie
Lemon meringue pie with a grapefruit twist!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp shortening
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 3-5 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 6 Tbsp corn starch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 eggs yolks (whites used in meringue)
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon and grapefruit juice combined, about 1 lemon and 1 grapefuit
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 Tbsp finely grated lemon peel
- 1/2 Tsp finely grated grapefruit peel
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 4 eggs whites (yolks used in filling)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For this recipe you need a baked, and cooled crust. Feel free to buy a prepared crust, or follow the instructions below to make one.
For the crust, whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
Cut in shortening and butter until the mixture is coarse and nearly combined.
Add ice cold water until it is moist, but not wet. Turn out from the bowl and form into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
When cooled, remove the dough from fridge. Sprinkle some flour on a surface and press the dough into a disc shape.
Using a rolling pin, starting from the center and working out toward edges, flatten the dough until about 12 inches in diameter.
Place dough in pie pan. Line with foil and pie weights or dried beans (to prevent the crust from bubbling up). Bake in 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights, continue cooking for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To make the pie filling, you will first add cold ingredients, then hot.
In a saucepan on the counter, whisk together sugar, salt, and cornstarch.
Whisk in yolks, 3/4 cup juices, and 1/4 cup cold water.
Once everything is dissolved, add grated peel, butter, and boiling water. Turn to combine.
Set over medium-high heat on the stove and stir continuously until it reaches a boil. Mixture will thicken immediately on boil, so make sure to stir constantly. When it reaches a boil, turn down heat to medium and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.
Pour hot filling into prepared baked crust.
For the meringue, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp corn starch. Set to the side.
Use a stand or hand mixer. Add egg whites and cream of tartar to large mixing bowl and beat at high speed until completely foamy.
Add the sugar mixture slowly. Beat on high until stiff peaks are formed.
Pour meringue onto hot pie filling, and spread with a spatula until all the edges are sealed.
Add to oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the meringue is nicely browned.
Let cool completely (about 3 hours) before cutting and serving.
Read the stories about Briana Carson’s journey and her inspiration for her pie shop Crave Pie Studio.
You can read more stories behind her pie recipes HERE.