One of the most satisfying ends to a meal is a serving of lemon meringue pie.
It’s got the right amount of a refreshing citrus zing, along with enough sugar and crust to perk you up after a big meal where you otherwise might feel a little lethargic.
Making lemon meringue pie yourself can be tricky to get right to begin with, so in the unlikely event that you do have leftovers, what should you do with them?
While the egg doesn’t freeze very well, meringue freezes (see also Can You Freeze Meringue Cookies?) just fine on its own.
But it does also keep well enough in an airtight container, somewhere cool and dry, for up to 2 weeks.
When it comes to lemon meringue pie, you can also freeze it (see also Can You Freeze Lemon Bars), but if something goes wrong, it could end in tears. The meringue can turn rubbery, or even extremely soggy, and both result in the pie going in the bin.
Best case scenario, the lemon meringue pie might be slightly altered in texture, but that’s a small price to pay for having lemon meringue pie exactly when you want it.
When you put lemon meringue pie into the freezer (see also Can You Freeze Lemons?), it will last about 3 months in total, but you’re better off using it within a month so that you keep its flavor.
Types of Meringues
In order to freeze meringue, it is worth knowing what kind of meringue you have, as different types contain different ingredients, and this will affect the results after freezing.
You can make Italian meringue by first making hot sugar syrup. Then you beat this syrup into already-beaten egg whites, adding the syrup gradually.
More often than not, if you don’t know what type of meringue you have, it’s probably Italian, as it’s extremely popular, and usually used for topping pies or cakes.
You make Swiss meringue by beating egg whites and sugar together in a double-boiling pan until the sugar dissolves.
Then you beat it almost violently to get the volume, and once it has that, much more gently until it stiffens.
The most basic of the three, French meringue, is still a classic. Simply beat egg whites together until soft peaks form, and then add sugar and whisk until the peaks can support themselves.
Tips & Tricks To Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie Right The First Time
In order to get lemon meringue pie to freeze (see also Freezing Pecan Pie) properly, you need to ensure that nothing has gone wrong during the baking process.
This is a tall order when you consider that making lemon meringue pie can be tough to get right, but here are some tips and tricks to help you do it.
How To Avoid Meringue Weeping
Sounds odd, doesn’t it? If you leave the meringue in a hot room, it will start to weep.
If you cook the meringue before you add it to the pie, you can reduce the risk of this.
You can also stop this from happening by covering the filling completely, which will stop the meringue from shrinking.
Putting lemon meringue pie into the fridge can cause the meringue to weep, as it’s quite a drastic temperature change from room temperature.
Either take the lemon meringue pie immediately to the table, or let it stand somewhere in your house that doesn’t suffer from drafts or other changes.
If you have a few hours before you’ll serve the pie (see also ‘Can you feeze Pork Pies?‘), either put it into the fridge or prepare it for freezing.
Meringue weeping can also be caused by heating the sugar syrup to the wrong temperature. You need to boil it until it reaches 120°C or 248°F, where it turns soft.
Then you can add it to the egg whites, once those whites have been beaten into stiff peaks.
Make Sure The Lemon Filling Stays Hot
Don’t let the lemon filling cool before or while you spread the meringue over it. If the lemon cools, it will start to melt, and the meringue will sweat. Ew.
Add The Lemon Juice As The Curd Cooks
This is a great trick, adding to the flavor. Add the lemon juice only when the curd filling cooks, not before.
This will make sure that you get the full citrus flavor (see also Can You Freeze Limes), while also avoiding the starch, which will only hamper the acidity within the lemon juice.
How To Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie
Preparing Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie For Freezing
If you’re a talented baker, and you’re making lemon meringue pie from scratch, make it as you normally would up until you’ve made and added the lemon filling.
Don’t add the meringue. You can add this when you come to serve it, as the whole meringue pie (see also article titled ‘Can You Freeze Mince Pies?‘) will be much tastier if you do.
Once the pie is completely cool, put it on a baking dish, and transfer it straight into the freezer. Let it freeze until solid.
Once it’s frozen solid, take the pie out of the freezer, and wrap it in cling film. Do several layers, making sure it’s airtight, and this will prevent freezer burn.
Once wrapped like a mummy, transfer the pie into a heavy-duty freezer bag. Label it, seal it, and freeze it.
Preparing Leftover or Store-Bought Lemon Meringue Pie For Freezing
Whether you’re freezing a whole meringue pie or just the leftovers, the method is the same.
Again, make sure the lemon meringue pie is completely cool before you try to freeze it, otherwise you risk it going soggy.
Cut the pie into portion-sized slices, and put them onto a plate that you can put into the freezer.
Let them freeze for about 2 hours, or until they are solid.
Take the pieces out of the freezer, and transfer them to a freezer bag. Because you’ve already frozen them, they won’t stick together. Label, seal, and return them to the freezer.
How To Thaw Lemon Meringue Pie
Simply transfer the frozen pie or a portion into the fridge. Let it defrost overnight, and enjoy it as soon as it has thawed.
Lemon meringue pie is tricky to get right, so if you make a fantastic one, why not save the rest for later and freeze it? If you stick to the tips and tricks above, there’s no reason why you can’t have this pie on demand when you want it. Perfect.