A sweet finish to a lovely meal is always welcome especially if it’s a generous slice of lemon meringue pie! And making a meringue pie is by no means a walk in the park! So what if you have leftovers? Can you freeze lemon meringue pie?
As you know, meringue is made from whipped egg whites. Since egg whites are sensitive to freezing temperatures, they do not hold up well in the freezer. In addition, the meringue could turn rubbery or crusty once it’s been frozen and thawed. In some cases, the meringue becomes too soggy when defrosted.
That being said, it is possible to freeze a lemon meringue pie. As long as you’re okay with the possible changes in the meringue’s texture or flavor, you can prep leftover pies for freezing. We do recommend making and adding the meringue to the pie only when you are ready to serve.
Image used under Creative Commons from jules
Different Types of Meringues
This type of meringue is made by beating hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites gradually. It’s the most popular meringue variant and is often used as frostings for cakes and pies.
This meringue is made by simmering dissolved sugar and egg whites together and then beating the mixture in an electric mixer. Swiss meringue is often used as a base for buttercream frosting.
This type of meringue is made by adding ultrafine sugar to uncooked egg whites gradually. Then, the mixture is beaten until it forms stiff, shiny peaks. French meringue has a characteristically crisp and light texture.
TIP: Meringue is often baked or cooked. Italian and Swiss meringue are cooked while French meringue is baked.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie
Avoiding Meringue “Weeping”
The meringue topping tends to “weep” when the pie is left standing in a humid room for too long. You can avoid weeping by cooking the meringue before it is added to the pie. In addition, cover the filling completely so the meringue won’t shrink.
Refrigeration could also cause even the most stable meringue to weep. You can avoid this by serving the pie immediately or leaving the pie to stand in a draft-free spot before serving. If a pie is left untouched for a few hours, prep it for refrigeration or freezing.
Sometimes meringue weeping is caused by the improper sugar syrup temperature. You have to boil the sugar syrup to a soft ball stage (120c or 248F) before being added to the egg whites. The egg whites should be beaten to stiff peaks prior to the addition of the syrup.
Keep the Lemon Filling Hot
Always keep the lemon filling hot before spreading the meringue over. If the lemon filling cools completely, it creates a melty layer between itself and the meringue, causing the meringue to sweat.
Love a sharp-tasting lemon filling? Try adding the lemon juice just as the curd filling cooks so the flavor remains fresh and tart! It also helps to reduce the contact with the cooking starch because this thickening agent tames the acidity of the lemon juice.
Image used under Creative Commons from jules
How to Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie
Freezing Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie
If you’re making the meringue pie from scratch, leave the lemon custard filling to cool completely prior to freezing. Do not add the meringue topping just yet, do this only when you are ready to serve. If you don’t give the pie enough time to cool, the pie could turn soggy.
Once the pie has cooled completely, place it in a baking dish and stick in the freezer. Leave the pie to freeze for at least 2 hours, no cover needed. When the pie is frozen stiff, take it out of the freezer and wrap it in several layers of cling wrap. Leave no spot uncovered to prevent freezer burns. After wrapping the pie in cling wrap, place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Write the storage date, seal, and stick in the freezer.
Freezing Leftovers or Pre-made Lemon Meringue Pie
For leftovers or pre-made meringue pie, make sure the pie has cooled completely prior to freezing. Cut the leftovers into serving portions and place them in a freezer-safe plate. Stick the pieces of meringue pie in the freezer until they are frozen stiff (about 2 hours of freezing). Once the meringue pie pieces are frozen solid, take the plate out of the freezer and place the pie pieces in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Write the storage date, seal, and stick in the freezer.
Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions
When frozen, lemon meringue pie will keep for 3 to 4 months. However, consume the pie as soon as possible for optimal flavor.
When it comes to thawing the frozen meringue pie, just transfer a portion of the pie to the fridge. Leave the pie to thaw for several hours to overnight then serve. No need to reheat the pie, it’s ready to eat as soon as it is thawed.
Leave no leftovers because refreezing is not recommended for thawed lemon meringue pie.
Baking a lemon meringue pie as a make-ahead dessert? Can you freeze lemon meringue pie? Although freezing is not a recommended storage option for lemon meringue pie, it’s great to know that it can be done with little to no changes in flavor. Just keep all the tips we’ve outlined above to extend the shelf life of lemon meringue pie!