Lemon meringue pie was very popular at the White House, one of the few things that reached across the aisle and united partisans of both parties. The filling is normally very heavy on butter, but my version is based on yogurt, with just a bit of butter for richness. Although a great meringue must be made with some sugar (in order to allow the air to be captured by the egg whites), this recipe has only about one third as much sweetener as the traditional pie, while remaining a supremely luscious dessert.
- Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse one or two times. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. Gradually add the water and pulse just until the dough comes together. Dump the dough onto a work surface and flatten into a 1⁄2-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight. (If doubling the recipe, divide the dough into two equal portions, then flatten and wrap each portion separately.)
- Dust a work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough (north, south, east, and west) into a 1⁄4-inch-thick circle. To prevent sticking, sprinkle a bit of flour on the dough as you work and flip the dough over occasionally. On the last roll, roll it out to 1⁄8-inch thickness. Lift the dough around the edges to “weigh” it with your hands; it should feel uniform.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, rolling it back onto the rolling pin as you would a carpet. Set the pin over the pie plate at the edge nearest you and unroll the dough over and into it. Using your index finger, push the dough into the plate where the bottom meets the sides, pressing into the rim with your opposite thumb. Working around the pie plate, pinch the dough along the rim to make a lip that overhangs by 1⁄2 inch into the pie plate (this enables you to form a fluted edge), then flute the edges by interlocking your thumbs and index fingers, working your way around the rim. Freeze until the dough is as hard as a rock, 20 minutes to 1 hour (this will prevent the dough from shrinking as it bakes). Fill the crust as directed and bake, with or without a top crust.
- Prepare the filling while the piecrust bakes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and eggs and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with 1⁄4 cup cold water and set aside to bloom.
- Combine the honey and lemon juice in a stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly drizzle the honey mixture over the yogurt mixture, whisking briskly so as not to curdle the eggs. Off the heat, transfer the mixture back to the saucepan, using a rubber spatula to thoroughly scrape out the mixing bowl. Reduce the heat to medium. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a gurgling boil. Pour through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter and bloomed gelatin and mix thoroughly with an immersion blender or handheld mixer. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and set aside.
- Make the meringue. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of the sugar. (Make sure the bowl is very clean or the whites won’t whip properly.) Whisk on medium-high until the tines of the whisk are visible in the whites. Slowly add the remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
- Using a serving spoon, scoop large dollops of the meringue from the bowl and, using a second spoon, scrape it out of the serving spoon and onto the curd. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Bake the pie until the meringue is just golden, 3 to 5 minutes (do not leave the room). Let the pie cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to allow the curd to set before serving. Use a wet knife to cut the pie into wedges and serve.
Reprinted from The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2017, Bill Yosses.