This is my first ever attempt at a lemon meringue pie. The irony of this is that I didn’t even really know if I like meringue. But I did it. I’ve learned lots and I wouldn’t be doing myself any justice if I didn’t post it here. Let me warn you, this is a complicated recipe, but it was the simplest one I found and can be found here. It involves making pastry, making the curd and making the meringue. It is awesome fun though, so make yourself comfortable and start baking. The meringue turnout out beautifully (if not the prettiest, but it tasted amazing.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
- 225g/8oz plain white flour
- pinch salt
- 110g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 medium free-range egg yolk
For the lemon curd
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 7 tbsp cornflour
- 4 large lemons, zest and juice only
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted
For the meringue
- 6 medium free-range egg whites
- 300g/10½oz caster sugar
For the pastry
Notes: Don’t overwork the pastry when you take it out of the fridge, it needs to stay as cold as possible, so before putting it in the fridge, roll it out a little (into the size of a dinner plate) before putting it in the fridge.
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Add the butter to the flour and then rub between your fingertips until a fine breadcrumb consistency is achieved.
- Add the sugar to the flour and butter. Using your hands, mix to a firm dough with the egg yolk and a splash of cold water.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and grease a 22cm/9in fluted loose-bottomed tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray.
- Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin, leaving excess pastry falling over the sides of the tin onto the baking tray underneath the tin – don’t trim at this stage. (I had about half the pastry left over, but to be fair I did use a smaller tin)
- Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Now trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is pale golden and dried out – remove the paper and beans for the last five minutes. Lower the oven heat to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
For the Lemon Curd
Notes: Don’t add too much water to the cornflour mixture, and when I used an electric mixer it splattered all over the kitchen. I think the next time I will just mix the mixture with a spoon to make sure it stays smooth. Also, carefully keep an eye on the curd when it’s on the heat, for a while it seems like nothing is happening and it solidifies quickly, just keep stirring and it’ll be fine.
- Meanwhile, for the lemon curd, mix together the sugar, cornflour and enough water to make a paste, in a large bowl.
- Bring 50ml/2fl oz water and the lemon zest to the boil in a small pan
- Gradually pour the hot liquid onto the cornflour and sugar, whisking all the time until smooth.
- Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice and butter. Return to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until thickened.
- Pour into the baked blind pastry case and leave to cool slightly.
For the Meringue
I didn’t pipe the meringue on, I just plopped in on with a spoon and smoothed it out and I still had loads of meringue left over. I think next time I will make less meringue. Also, not matter how tempting, do not open the oven while the meringue is in, that is what caused mine to crack. When it’s done, switch off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven to cool.
- For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.
- Whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well and at a high speed between each addition.
- Transfer the meringue into a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd.
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-like underneath.