Tangy lemon curd topped with fluffy meringue baked in a flaky crust. These mini lemon meringue pies are baked in a mini muffin pan for individual servings!Jump to Recipe
Lemon meringue pies are, in my humble opinion, one of the best pies. You have tangy lemon curd and sweet, pillowy meringue and a crisp crust. Plus, you get to play with fire a little bit. (A creme brulee torch is not strictly necessary to make these but I did have a friend light her whole pie on fire using her broiler and not paying attention).
I like to make mini lemon meringue pies because then you have all the awesomeness of lemon meringue pie but without the need for a fork. These are great for a random Sunday afternoon but they really shine at a birthday party or a baby shower. Pretty little bite sized treats for a crowd!
What is lemon curd?
Lemon curd is a sort of lemon “jam” made from butter, sugar, lemons, and egg yolks. It gets it’s rich yellow color from the egg yolks. It is different from traditional lemon meringue pie filling because it does not contain any cornstarch. Consequently, it is a little bit less firm but for these tiny pies, that doesn’t matter in the least!
What is Swiss Meringue?
Swiss meringue is made by mixing egg whites and sugar together over a double boiler until it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The mixture is then beaten with your mixer until stiff peaks form. It’s a very smooth and stable meringue.
Are there other types of meringue?
Yes! French meringue, which is simply adding sugar directly to your whipped egg whites, like in angel food cake and Italian meringue which is making sugar syrup and adding it to the egg whites while they are being beaten.
French meringue is the most straightforward, but it is prone to “weeping” on lemon meringue pie. You also have to take care to really beat in all your sugar, otherwise it will have a gritty consistency. Italian meringue is the most stable, but also the biggest pain to make. Swiss meringue is the “just right” of meringues.
Should I refrigerate my lemon meringue pie?
Yes. The lemon curd should be refrigerated because of the eggs, consequently the whole pie should be refrigerated. It will stay fresh 2-3 days. Additionally, if you want to make your lemon curd in advance, you can freeze it up to 3 months in a freezer safe container with plastic wrap directly on top of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming).
Tips For Success:
- Be sure you dock your pie crusts before you bake them (which just means poke them a few times with a fork so they don’t puff up too much.
- Completely cool your crusts before adding in the lemon curd and meringue. This will help prevent soggy bottom crusts.
- Speaking of cooling completely, make your lemon curd the day ahead, or at least a few hours so it can cool down and firm up in the refrigerator.
- Don’t let your lemon curd boil. It will coagulate the proteins in your eggs and you’ll basically have scrambled eggs. This may happen a little bit anyway so…
- Always strain your lemon curd. Seems like an annoying extra step, but egg chunks in your lemon curd are not the best.
- When chilling your lemon curd, place the plastic wrap directly on top of the curd to avoid developing a “skin” on top.
- If using a your broiler to brown your meringue-watch it carefully! Since we’re making Swiss meringue, we’re cooking the egg whites so it’s not necessary to brown your meringue but it does look pretty!
Mini Lemon Meringue Pies
- 1 9 or 10 inch homemade or store bought pie crust
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 large eggs full eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Lemon Curd
- In a medium large saucepan mix together sugar and egg yolks. Add in lemon juice and cook over medium heat until thick and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil if you can help it, it will make the eggs in the curd curdle. Remove from heat.
- Strain the curd through a mesh strainer. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the curd. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the Swiss Meringue
- Over a pan of simmering water, whisk together egg whites and granulated sugar until mixture reaches at least 145 degrees.
- Using the whisk attachment of the stand mixture, beat the egg white and sugar mixture until stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla and beat to combine. Don’t be concerned if this takes a long time. The egg whites are cooling as they are being beaten.
To Assemble the Pies
- Unroll pie crust.
- Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out circles of pie crust about 3 inches in diameter (this size will vary depending on the size of your mini cupcake pan).
- If you do not have a circular cookie cutter, you can use a drinking glass about that size. You may need to reroll the pie crust to get more circles.
- Tuck the circles of dough into your mini muffin pan.
- Prick the dough on the bottom and sides with a fork. Bake crusts at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cooled, pop crusts out of pan. It will be easier to take them out now than when your whole pie is assembled.
- Spoon lemon curd into the pie shells. Pipe meringue on top of the lemon curd. I used a #21 Wilton tip.
- Using a creme brulee torch, lightly go over the meringue to brown it. If you do not have a creme brulee torch, you can put the pies on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven under the boiler for like a minute. Pay very close attention if you do this. I had a friend set her whole lemon meringue pie on fire using this method.
If you love tiny pies, you might want to try these mini key lime pies too! They’re made with buttery Graham cracker crust, tangy key lime juice, and a dollop of fresh whipped cream are the perfect two-bite treat!
We have to separate a lot of eggs for this recipe, if you need a refresher, check out my post on How To Separate Eggs-there I show you 4 different ways to separate your eggs.
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