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'Million Dollar' pie

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8
‘Million Dollar’ pie
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Crust

1

Stir together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or by hand until the ingredients are combined and the mixture resembles coarse meal.

2

Sprinkle in the ice water. Quickly stir the water into the flour mixture with a fork just until the dough holds together.

3

Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a 1-inch-thick circle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

4

Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle on a lightly floured board. Lift the pastry onto a 9-inch pie plate and gently fit it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Trim the edges, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Flute and crimp. Chill the shell 30 minutes.

5

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line the pie shell with a piece of parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Filling

1

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Gradually add the boiling water and stir until blended.

2

Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until it boils and the mixture is clear and has thickened,

3

4 to 5 minutes. Pour the filling into the top of a double boiler or into a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4

Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks and return all to the pan, stirring until blended. Cook 2 minutes.

5

Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and lemon zest. Place plastic wrap on top of the filling and cool to room temperature.

6

Pour the filling into the baked pie shell, spreading it evenly.

Meringue and assembly

1

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Continue beating until soft peaks form.

2

Slowly add the sugar, beating until the mixture is stiff but not dry.

3

Spoon the meringue onto the pie filling. Spread and swirl the meringue over the filling, sealing to the edges of the pie.

4

Bake at 400 degrees until the meringue peaks are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

From Winifred Deane.

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