* Homemade All Butter Pie Crust or 2 pre-made, ready to roll pie crusts
* 4 egg yolks + 1 egg for egg wash
* 1/3 cup cornstarch
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1 1/3 cups sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 4 egg whites, at room temperature
* 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
* Pinch of salt
* 3/4 cup sugar
Filling : Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar and salt. Stir constantly over medium low heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and reduce the heat to low.
Pour half of this mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Now, pour the “hot” egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly.
Return to the stove and cook for an additional 3 minutes stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Finally whisk in butter one tbsp at a time. Stir occasionally until cool. (Setting in the bowl and placing in a larger bowl of ice will speed this up.).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour (or use nonstick cooking spray) a mini-muffin pan. Set aside.
Roll the dough or pie crust out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter (approximately 3 inches diamater) cut at least 24 rounds out ( or 12 rounds of each pie crust, if using store bought)
Carefully press each round into the mini-muffin pan. Use your fingers to round the ends into a pie crust.
Brush egg wash from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden around the edges.
Remove from oven and let the crust cool. Once cooled, use the tip of a knife to loosen the crusts from the mini muffin cups, but keep them in the pan.
Spoon the lemon filling into each baked and cooled mini pie crust almost up to the top.
Meringue: In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tarter and salt and gradually beat in sugar until glossy, about another 10 minutes. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue and top filled mini pies.
When ready to serve, preheat the broiler to high. Place mini-muffin pan under the broiler until the meringue is evenly toasted, about 2 minutes, or brown the merinque with a kitchen blow torch.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.