Best Meringue Strategy

A reader has asked: I like to make lemon meringue pie and the crust and filling are just the way I want them, but the meringue always disintegrates within an hour of taking the pie out of the oven. A friend said that the egg whites were overbeaten. Is that true?

A: Meringue usually disintegrates when it is overwhipped. Try combining 4 egg whites and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved (test with a fingertip to be sure). Whip by machine until cooled and risen in volume, but still creamy and flexible. Substitute this meringue and your pie will now be perfect.