Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie—in Jars
For the Crust
8 ounces gluten free graham crackers or other crispy gluten free cookies (*I used the gluten free Nabisco Honey Maid-Style Cinnamon Graham Crackers from page 195 of Gluten Free Classic Snacks* Too mean?), crushed into crumbs
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Meringue Topping
4 egg whites (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar
For the Lemon Curd Filling
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (26 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (17 grams superfine white rice flour + 6 grams potato starch + 3 grams tapioca starch/flour), or an equal amount of superfine sweet white rice flour
3 tablespoons (27 g) cornstarch
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) milk
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 egg yolks (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom half of four 16-ounce mason jars (or other similarly-sized heat-safe containers, like 16-ounce ramekins). Place them on a small, parchment-lined baking sheet, and set the baking sheet aside.
First, make the crust. Combine the crust ingredients in a medium-size bowl until all of the crumbs are moistened by the melted butter. Divide the crust evenly among the prepared jars or ramekins, and press the crust into an even, compact layer on the bottom of each container. Place the baking sheet with the containers in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the jars aside to cool.
Make the meringue. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer. Turn the mixer on medium speed and beat until frothy. Add the lemon juice, and continue to beat until the mixture has nearly doubled in volume. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until glossy soft peaks form (soft peaks stand up and then slowly fall over on themselves). Set the meringue aside while you make the lemon curd.
Make the lemon curd filling. In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the sugar, flour blend, cornstarch, milk, lemon juice and lemon zest, and whisk to combine well. Place the egg yolks in a medium-size heat-safe bowl, set next to the stovetop. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. In a very, very slow trickle, pour about half of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This step will temper the eggs so they do not scramble. Pour the warm egg yolk and milk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk mixture, and return to the heat. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened enough that the whisk leaves a very visible trail in the mixture.
Assemble the pies and bake. Working quickly, divide the hot lemon curd filling evenly among the jars, right on top of the crusts. Divide the meringue topping evenly among the containers, gently pressing the meringue down on top of the lemon curd. A large ice cream scoop is useful in placing the meringue. Place the baking sheet with the pies on it back in the center of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. The meringues will expand a bit, and the tops should brown lightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for as long as you like before serving. You can serve these pies chilled, at room temperature, or even warm. To serve them chilled, allow the pies to cool for about an hour at room temperature, and then place them in the refrigerator to chill for about 2 hours.