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Why is it that whenever I make a lemon meringue pie, (packaged lemon filling, directions followed EXACTLY), and I cut into it, there is always a puddle of liquid on the bottom? I do use 7 egg whites but I put a bit of cornstarch in to help with the beads of moisture on top. That works, but I don't think that is related to my puddle problem! I have also tried to add the meringue to the lemon filling when it was hot and when it was cold. I have also tried to refrigerate the pie and just leave it on the counter. Still, a puddle! Does anyone have any ideas why I am getting a puddle on the bottom of my pie?

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Do you mean that the puddle is below the bottom crust? –  Jefromi Jul 10 '13 at 2:54
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I think what may be happening is that the acid from the lemon is making the protein in the eggwhite/meringue curl tighter and squeeze water out of the emulsion. maybe try the corn starch in between the lemon and meringue? –  MandoMando Jul 10 '13 at 3:23
    
Was the meringue baked? –  Mien Jul 10 '13 at 6:25

1 Answer 1

Water seeping from meringue is practically always coming from the egg whites. There are a few standard things you can do to reduce it.

First, do not overbeat. For some reason, recipes love to direct people to beat egg whites "to stiff peaks". These are almost never needed, and can easily lead to self-destructing foam (the proteins continue tightening after the beating, squeezing the water out and creating large, easily-collapsed bubbles). Go for soft peaks at most. I have found that using a high speed setting also helps, and beating per hand almost always leads to weeping, even if stopped early.

Second, use cream of tartar to create a stabler meringue without too much beating.

Third, the cornstarch isn't binding enough of the free water. If you whip less, you will have less free water, but if it is still not enough, you can use something more effective, e.g. xanthan.

Look around the site for more advice against weeping meringue. Also look at the pictures in that answer - the meringue there is for macarons, which are very sensitive to the meringue quality.

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