Whip Up Lemon Meringue Pie

It may not look like much, but this little baby, courtesy of Paul Hollywood’s (Great British Bake Off) ‘How To Bake’, was mouth-wateringly spectacular. I managed to surprise myself by actually sharing it with friends, who I had to double-check enjoyed every mouthful. As lemon meringue pies go, and I have made a few in the past, Paul’s version was surprisingly easy. It was just a case of purchasing some short crust pastry (which you simply added water to, rolled out and placed in the tart tin), warming lemon zest, juice, cornflour and sugar until thickened – add 12 egg yolks – stir a little more – and then butter. Pour the lemon curd onto the pastry inside of the tin, and then whip up some egg whites and sugar and spoon your meringue on top of the lemony goodness. Pop in the oven for 1 hour and hey presto!

The beauty of lemon meringue pie is that it looks complicated and a little intimidating, but really it isn’t. It does take a little bit of time and has three slightly time-consuming elements, but really it’s a piece of cake. And it’s wonderful toppling formation is what makes it so inviting. It’s meant to be a little bit messy and sticky, with the crisp meringue on top, a creamy middle and tangy, smooth lemon curd. Perfect. Below I’ve included the proper recipe – honestly this book is marvellous, so give it a go.

*I didn’t make my own pastry, I’m lazy, so I’ve written the recipe the way I used it – if you want to go even further and make your own sweet pastry, go ahead, it will taste even better…

Ingredients:

1 packet of shortcrust pastry

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk for glazing

For the lemon curd:

6 large lemons

230g caster sugar

pinch of salt

cornflour

12 medium egg yolks

230g unsalted butter, softened

for the meringue:

6 medium egg whites

280g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp lemon juice

  • Follow the instructions on the shortcrust pastry packet (usually just adding a few tablespoons of water to create the dough) & roll to about 3mm thick. Use the pastry to line a 25cm loose-based tart tin. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the edge and prick the base all over with a fork. Then chill the pastry case for 30 minutes
  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and brush the pastry case with eggwash. Return the pastry to the oven for a further 5-8 minutes until the pastry is dry and the edges just turn golden. Trim off any rough edges and set the pastry case aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 degrees
  • To make the lemon filling, finely grate the zest of 2 lemons. Mix the lemon zest with the sugar, salt and cornflour in a saucepan. Squeeze the juice from all 6 lemons, strain into a saucepan and beat into the sugar mixture. Heat gently, stirring often, until thickened. Take off the heat and beat in the egg yolks, then cook gently again, stirring, until thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Pour the lemon filling into the baked pastry case
  • For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they hold soft peaks. Now beat in the sugar, 1tbsp at a time. When all the sugar is incorporated, carry on beating for 3-4 minutes until the meringue is really glossy. Fold in the cornflour and lemon juice. Spoon the meringue over the lemon filling in the tart
  • Bake for about an hour, until the meringue topping is crisp and lightly golden. Leave to cool completely before serving and dust with icing sugar

 

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