The beloved classic lemon meringue pie gets a low carb, grain-free makeover. The lemon filling is both tart and sweet, and the meringue is crisp on the outside, tender in the middle.
I sincerely love making over the classics to be low carb and gluten-free. The funny part is that many of these classic dishes and desserts are not things I would have bothered with back in my sugar and flour days. Some of them I simply wasn’t interested in and some of them were just a little too daunting. For others, I would have had to follow the recipe to the letter and goodness knows how I hate doing that. I can hardly make my own recipes the same way twice. But now the challenge of recreating the classics in a healthy format I can enjoy holds great appeal. Can I take an iconic dish, something that stands out in people’s minds as the food or dessert they remember from childhood, that their grandmother made every time they came over, and can I remake it without sugar or flour or grains? Can I make it more than simply palatable, more than a mere approximation of the classic they love so much? Can I not only make it, but make it really, REALLY good?
Yep, I sure can. At least in this case, I believe I conquered that challenge and conquered it admirably. Now if only I could conquer crusty Italian or French bread. Then I would be the master of the low carb universe.
Lemon meringue is honestly not one that was very significant in my childhood. Ever the chocoholic, I would forego the citrus-based desserts in favour of something darker, creamier and denser. I know I had lemon meringue pie on a number of occasions, and it was even pretty good a few times. Other times, it was an overly-sweet, soggy mess. But such is the way with any classic dessert, there are good ones and there are awful ones.
Since I already have a low carb pastry recipe that I love, my challenge with this classic lay in both the filling and in the meringue. Lemon meringue fillings are made with plenty of cornstarch to help them set properly and we know that isn’t a gonna fly for low carb. And meringue without sugar can be tricky, as it can either be overly hard and crunchy, or it can lack structure and deflate during baking. I wanted the filling to be slightly gooey but not liquid, so I decided to tackle that in two ways. First, with xanthan gum to help thicken it a little, and secondly, with a little gelatin to help it set properly. I was more worried about the meringue, thinking it might disintegrate when I tried to spread it over the warm filling. But it held up nicely and even better, it baked to that perfect soft crispness. It was crisp on the very outside but sweet and tender on the inside, and I think it was the mix of both granulated and powdered sweetener that helped.
One word to the wise: be patient. Let it chill the full 3 hours. Don’t do as I did and cut in too soon or the un-set lemon filling starts oozing out everywhere. Patience is a virtue that I don’t have enough of!
Keto Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon water divided
- 1 cup granulated Swerve Sweetener
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 tablespoon grassfed gelatin (can use 1 envelope Knox gelatin)
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- ¼ cup granulated Swerve Sweetener
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate.
- Prepare the crust according to the directions and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake 12 minutes, then remove and let cool completely before filling.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of the water, sweetener, lemon zest and salt. Bring to just a boil, whisking frequently, until sweetener dissolves.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Slowly add about ½ cup of the water to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then gradually whisk the egg yolks back into the pan and lower the heat to low. Cook for 1 minute more, stirring continuously.
- Stir in lemon juice and butter and whisk until smooth. Sprinkle surface with xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining two tablespoons of water and the gelatin. Let sit 2 minutes until gelled, then stir into hot lemon mixture, whisking until well combined. Cover and set aside while making the meringue.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until frothy. With beaters going, slowly add sweeteners and vanilla extract and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Pour warm filling into crust. Dollop with meringue and spread right to the edges so that the meringue meets the crust. Swirl the top with the back of a spoon.
- Bake 20 minutes or until meringue topping is golden and just barely firm to the touch. Remove and let pie cool 20 minutes, then refrigerate at least 3 hours to set.
Total fat: 17.51g
Calories from fat: 157
Total dietary fiber: 2.12g
I tried making this recipe, the filling was completely liquid like water when I poured onto the crust. So, I put it in the refrigerator to thicken before baking it with the meringue. Of course, my meringue is now deflated. The pie is still in the fridge with the centre still wobbly. Is it supposed to be liquid like that when pouring into the crust and before baking with the meringue. I don’t know quite what to do with it now. thank you.
No.. it should not be like water when you’re done cooking the filling. Egg yolks thicken it if you cook it long enough. Did you use allulose for the filling, by chance?
Dolores Proietti says
No, I used the granulated erythritol sweetener, 1 cup and the one cup of water. The instructions were to cook for 1 minute more when eggs are added and so I did and took off the heat to add all the other ingredients. I see on your lemon curd that it should cook for 15 minutes or so. I followed the recipe. The pie has been in the fridge overnight so I expect it has solidified. I will have to throw away the meringue and start again. The crust may have gotten soggy. A video would be helpful for this recipe because it is a great dessert and I’m sure delicious. Thank you.
Not really sure how to help. It’s not thick, but it’s also not completely like water so I can’t identify what went wrong for you.
Wausa Monague says
Simply to die for! Yum yum yum! I made it for a dinner party and it was loved by all (even the non keto people)
I was really nervous about the lemon part “setting” and had to be very careful when moving from the oven to the counter to the fridge as it was liquid, but 4 hours in the fridge magic happened… it was perfect!
Your recipes are fail safe-I feel like a keto pastry chef!
Pam B says
I would be the only one eating the pie. Do you know about how long this would last ?
Freeze it (tightly wrapped) and it will be good for 2 months!
This was pretty good, but I felt the lemon layer was too thin. I use to make non-keto every year & I’m wondering if doubling the custard would set properly? The crust was delicious.
Lemon filling is just a tiny bit smoother if you stir in 1 to 2 tsp of butter into the lemon mixture just as you take it off the heat. Then pour it into your crust and put in the fridge to let set for 3 hours prior to topping with the meringue. The meringue will hold better and you never have to worry about it melting. Then pop it in to the oven to slightly cook/toast the meringue to a pale gold. Just something my 92-year-old mother does, and her pies are amazing.
Is your filling to be thickened before putting into pie crust & spreading meringue on top. Because mine is still very runny. How can I save this?
If you added gelatin, it will thicken as it cools.
The Poe did not set up. So disappointed. Went back to read recipe to see if I missed something. Followed exactly and even had in fridge longer than 3 hours. So disappointed!
Did you use a different sweetener? If you used gelatin, it should absolutely set so I can’t see why it wouldn’t unless you changed an ingredient.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! This pie is perfection! I am the only one in my family that eats keto, so am constantly making regular desserts with regular sugar as well as keto for me. I bet they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between theirs and mine! This is the best keto dessert I’ve ever made! Thank you so very much!
Bonjour félicitation pour vos belles recettes. J’ai fait la tarte au citron qui au goût est juste wow! merci . Mais une fois refroidi le sucre à cristalliser dans la garniture. Pouvez-vous m’expliquer la raison. Mon sucre est le fruit Des Moines
Merci Marie Therese