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Aug 23, 2007 07:47 AM

How to keep lemon meringue pie from weeping?

Apologies to all, as I know I have read a thread on this topic before. But, as usual, I can't get the search function to turn it up for me.

So I'm making a lemon meringue pie on request for a "back to university" going-away dinner for a friend's son. This is not a pie that I have made before, and I would like to know:

1) Why do some fillings weep?
2) What can I do to avoid the problem?

I seem to recall that humidity played a factor, but would love to hear from the experts on this!

Many thanks!

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  1. I don't know if this plays a factor but my Mother always told me to make sure I "sealed" the pie with meringue not letting there be a spot that wasn't covered, especially along the sides before the meringue is baked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Yes I should have specified by baked I meant under the broiler to brown for just a few minutes, I always think it is a little better this way. Martha always has solid advice I love her baking book. Yeah I also remember not adding any ingredient cold it was warmed or at least room temperature. Good luck. At least it is worth the effort mmm.

    2. Martha Stewart's advice: If the meringue is cooked before being added to the pie, it will be more stable and less likely to weep.

      To do this, combine the sugar and egg whites called for in your recipe in a heat-proof bowl and set over simmering water. Mix until the egg whites are warm, then remove from heat and add the salt and/or cream of tartar. Beat into stiff peaks. Spread the meringue over a pie that is already baked, covering the filling completely and touching the crust all the way around. This will prevent shrinking. If you like golden peaks on your meringue, run the pie under the broiler for one or two minutes. Serve as soon as possible."

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lisbet

        That sounds like a good approach, thanks! In this situation, do you know whether I can just use a good lemon curd for the filling and not bake it? Or do I need to use a baked "lemon pie filling" in order to be able to slice and serve it?

        1. re: TorontoJo

          You can use lemon curd, but I think it's very rich, and you still have to bake the pie crust. Lemon pie filling is lighter.

      2. Cooks Illustrated has a great recipe for No-Fail Lemon Meringue Pie. It is delicious and the meringue does not weep and cuts beautifully. Here is the link:
        The trick is combining water and cornstarch, bringing it to a boil to cook the cornstarch and then adding this mixture to the egg whites a bit at a time as you beat them.

        1. Heating the lemon juice with the sugar until it dissolves before adding it to the yolks will work every time. Baking at the lower temp wont fully dissolve the sugar. Sugar is hygroscopic so the undissolved granules will absorb moisture inside the pie and basically sugar syrup will leak out. Whew. Adding starch is goofy.

          1. Thanks everyone! I may just combine all techniques to avoid any chance of weepy pie.