Makes 1 pie.
1/2 box vanilla wafers
1 stick lightly salted butter
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 can condensed milk, preferably Eagle Brand
1 egg yolk
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
Accompaniment: grated lemon rind
Special equipment: pie plate
In a food processor, finely crush vanilla wafers. Melt butter for flavor (not sweet butter). Pour vanilla wafers and melted butter into a pie plate and shape into a pie shell with your fingers.
In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, condensed milk, and egg yolk. Pour mixture into pie plate. In another bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and sugar until stiff white peaks form. Pour over pie and top with freshly grated lemon rind.
Bake in oven at moderate heat just long enough for meringue to brown, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and put in the refrigerator until ice-cold. The result, as Tennessee Williams always said, “is good enough to slap your Mama.”