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If you’re going to make crust, filling and meringue, why not just make a large pie? Because then you’d have to share. This is a real treat, a tiny pie that tastes, perhaps, even better than a slice of a big one. And when it comes to pie, it’s definitely faster and easier when you keep things small. You could use a quarter of a pre-rolled refrigerated pie crust, trimming it to fit your ramekin or mini pie pan. But you can also mix up a little ball of pastry in moments. The secret to keeping this speedy? Beat the egg whites and make the filling while the crust bakes, then pour the hot filling into the hot crust, slather on the meringue and pop it back in the oven. If you let the crust cool, you have to let the filling cool as well or the crust gets soggy. When everything is hot, you can move more quickly — and eat your little pie that much faster.
|1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus a little more for sprinkling||2 Tbsp., plus 1/4 cup sugar|
|2 pinches salt||1 Tbsp. cornstarch|
|2 Tbsp. cold butter||1/3 cup water|
|2 tsp. ice water||Juice and zest of 1 lemon|
|1 egg, yolk and white separated||1 Tbsp. butter|
Preheat the oven (or the toaster oven) to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the flour and 1 pinch of salt with a fork. Use the fork to work the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, then sprinkle on the water, mixing just to combine.
Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface and use a rolling pin or the side of a bottle to roll the pastry to fit your mini pie tin or a 1-cup ramekin. Poke the crust with a fork several times and bake for 10 minutes, until golden.
While the crust bakes, make the meringue by beating the egg white with a mixer until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating until stiff but not dry. Set aside.
To make the filling, beat the egg yolk in a small bowl and set aside. Blend the sugar, cornstarch and 1 pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Whisk in the water a little at a time until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just comes to a boil.
Transfer a dollop of the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolk, beating constantly, then pour the egg yolk into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in the lemon juice and zest and the butter.
To finish the pie, spoon the hot filling into the hot crust and smooth the meringue over the top of the whole pie, sealing it out to the edges of the crust. Bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until the meringue starts to brown.