Meringue pies are the ultimate in dessert decadence without the guilt. The pies can be easily baked with a low-fat recipe, and meringue is fat-free. There are many traditional types of meringue pie, but the basic recipe is easy to modify to make unique versions of the classic dessert.
Meringue is a fat-free dessert that needs only a few ingredients and a few minutes to make at home. Stiffened egg whites, sugar and a drop of vanilla flavouring makes a mixture that can be used to make a number of desserts. Bake the meringue to make a light and airy sugar cookie or add cornstarch and make a pavlova. One of the more popular ways to use meringue is as a topping for meringue pies.
Meringue pie filling, usually a flavoured custard or water-based mixture similar to custard, is topped with a sweet meringue and baked just long enough to brown the meringue. The crust of the pie, a favourite holiday dessert, is made from pie dough or graham crackers. The custard-like filling of cornstarch, eggs and sugar or the cream custard is usually fruit flavoured but can be combined with almost anything that compliments the meringue topping and combines well with custard.
The most popular kind of filling for a meringue pie is a tart custard-like filling. The citrus flavours make for the best tart filling and lemon is by far the most popular type of meringue pie. Other citrus flavours like lime, grapefruit and orange also make a pie that balances the sweetness of the meringue with a refreshing filling. More decadent and sweet pies are made with chocolate, butterscotch, peppermint, eggnog, marshmallow, vanilla and caramel custards. Any kind of fruit custard can be used as the filling for a meringue pie, including banana, berry, pineapple, coconut and apple.
You can also make a meringue pie with a filling that is not a custard. The ingredients are first cooked and softened and then put into the pie crust, covered with meringue and baked. This type of meringue pie works best for berry pies like raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, cherry and blackberry. You can also make combinations like rhubarb and orange or strawberry and mango, or use pie fillings like pumpkin, cranberry or apple.