Active Time
35 MIN
Total Time
6 HR 25 MIN
Serves : 8

In 2018, mkgallery named this recipe one of our 40 best: Legendary culinary historian, teacher, and author Jessica B. Harris has spent years documenting the foodways of the African diaspora. Harris contributed several articles to mkgallery in the 1980s and 1990s, including a piece on her Southern family’s traditions and heirloom recipes, inspired by her mother and two grandmothers. Of the three women, Harris said, “Each was representative of the major African-American culinary traditions that have marked America.” Her mother’s influence included a spectacular citrus meringue pie that uses fresh lemon and lime juices baked into a pastry shell made with fresh orange juice.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together cornstarch, lemon juice, and lime juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan until cornstarch dissolves. Stir in 3 cups water, 2 cups sugar, butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium-low, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes. (Mixture will thicken as it cooks.) Remove from heat.

Step 2    

Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot lemon-lime mixture. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface, and let cool 30 minutes. Pour mixture into pastry shell. Set aside.

Step 3    

Combine egg whites and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually add cream of tartar and remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating on medium speed until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks, about 4 minutes.

Step 4    

Gently dollop meringue over lemon-lime filling. Using the back of a spoon, spread meringue to edges. Swirl decoratively with spoon. Bake in preheated oven until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer to refrigerator until well chilled, about 3 hours.

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