Lemon Meringue Pie is an old favourite in the UK. Often these days those that are available in supermarkets don’t really have the meringue as it should be. So a home-baked one is always likely to be preferable.
The recipe I used, from BBC Good Food calls it Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie. Until I actually taste it I will hold fire on giving it the ‘ultimate’ epithet.
Now I did have a bit of a disaster with my pastry for this pie. It is a very,very short pastry and I blind baked it for the requisite 15 minutes. But in attempting to remove the ceramic beans and the paper( I used parchment instead of silver foil) I dragged the paper, breaking up the pastry and making a complete mess. Would I let that thwart me? Indeed I would not! I dumped the offending creation and started again. For the second time I used silver foil, as prescribed by the recipe and it was fine.
As for the filling and the meringue, no disasters there. The filling looks rather like a lemon curd in texture and, warm, it spread over the pastry case just fine. I almost ran out of meringue for the middle, having to take some from the edge to make it completely covered.
As you can see from the photo below the meringue looks fine. I will post a photo of a slice of the pie, once it as been cut open. But first I have to wait for it to cool down.
For the pastry
- 175g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
For the filling
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- finely grated zest 2 large lemon
- 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- juice 1 small orange
- 85g butter, cut into pieces
- 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg
For the meringue
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. The pastry is quite rich, so don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight).
- Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.) Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.
- Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl. Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.