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David Lebovitz's Lime-Marshmallow Pie

"It emerged beautifully brown, and almost caramelized, looking like the lemon meringue pies of my childhood memories."

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Lemon meringue pie was one of my favorite childhood desserts and seeing all of those gloriously tall, peaked pies in diner display cases was the inspiration for trying out this Lime-Marshmallow Pie from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz. Judging by the photo that accompanied the recipe in the book, this pie looked like a challenge. Was there any way I could replicate those lovely swirls and peaks in my home kitchen?

My baking confidence level has risen tenfold in the past year or so but there's still a bit of apprehension that comes with a new pastry-related endeavor. But once I sat down with the recipe I realized the components were all projects that I had conquered individually in various other desserts.

The graham cracker crust was basic, whether you chose to make your own or go straight from the box. The lime filling wasn't too unlike the countless lemon tarts I've made, and the marshmallow-meringue topping was really just work for the Kitchen-Aid and candy thermometer.

After giving myself a dessert-making pep talk I got to work crushing and reassembling the graham crackers for the crust, whisking eggs, limes, and sugar for the filling and slowly drizzling sugar syrup and gelatin for the topping. When the marshmallow topping had come back to room temperature, I set about artfully dolloping it onto the top of the pie, which I must say looked absolutely perfect as is.

Placing this pie topped with an ethereally light marshmallow-meringue into a blazing hot oven got my nerves stirred up again. Would it collapse into a puddle of liquid? Is it going to singe instead of brown?

I held my breath and carefully placed it on the rack and no less than three minutes later it emerged beautifully brown, and almost caramelized, looking like the lemon meringue pies of my childhood memories. And it tasted even better, replacing the classic lemon with lime gave this pie a fresh and unexpected flavor and the meringue was much lighter and less cloying than any restaurant or diner version that I've ever had. It was a show-stopper dessert, looking nearly as pretty as its picture in the book, delicious, beautiful, and comfortingly familiar, this Lime-Marshmallow Pie was a definite dessert triumph.

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Lime-Marshmallow Pie

- makes one 9-inch cake (8 servings) -

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz.

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