Happy Monday folks! Did you have a nice weekend? Would you believe I’m still jet-lagged? I didn’t realise how long it would take to recover! Apparently it’s way worse when you fly west rather than east.
Today I’m bringing you a very British, very summery dessert – Lemon Meringue Pie! Yummy shortcrust pastry is the base for lip puckeringly tangy lemon curd, and it’s all topped with fluffy cloud-like meringue! I always kid myself that I don’t like lemon curd, but the leftover curd that I had when making this pie mysteriously disappeared from my fridge…
This Lemon Meringue Pie is super lemony as I made it for my mum who loves lemon to the max (like these Lemon Curd Shortbread bars)! If you’re a bit less keen on a strong lemon flavour, just use less lemon juice in the curd and replace it with the same amount of water.
If you’re worried about making lemon curd yourself – don’t be! I’ve made it twice now, and each time I’ve realised later that I did something wrong (remind me to re-read the recipe next time before I start!), but it turned out perfectly anyway. Even though it seems to have a reputation of being difficult to make, I’ve found it to be very forgiving!
This dessert is totally easy, but incredibly impressive. None of the three elements are particularly difficult or contain more than a few ingredients, but the combined effect of all three is that you must have been slaving away in the kitchen all day! No need to englighten anyone that you were really lounging on the sofa eating lemon curd from the jar…
- 225g plain flour
- 110g unsalted butter
- 80g golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 250ml water
- 250g golden caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 80g cornflour
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- juice and zest of 6 lemons
- 4 egg whites
- 200g golden caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Measure your flour into a large heatproof bowl and then add your butter, cut into chunks. Pop into the microwave for 10-15 seconds until the butter is softened, and then rub the butter into the flour into only small lumps of butter remain. Stir in the sugar, and then add the egg and a little milk, enough until the dough starts to come together. Tip the crumbly dough out onto some clingfilm, and pat into a round. Pop into the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.
- When you're ready to blind-bake your pie base, preheat an oven to 220C, gas mark 7 or 425F and roll out your dough on a well floured surface, using plenty of flour on the rolling pin as well. You should be able to guesstimate when it's big enough for your pie tin, or you could hold it over the dough to get an idea.
- Roll your dough over the rolling pin and gently lower onto your pie tin. Very gently push the dough into the edges and bottom of the pan - don't worry if any tearing happens, we can just patch that up! Next, cover the whole thing with parchment paper, and use some bread crusts, a little pasta or some baking beans to weigh the paper down. This will ensure the pie dough doesn't puff up in the oven.
- Bake for ten minutes in the middle of the oven until the edges are starting to brown, and then remove the parchement paper and bake for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- I did this while my pie base was baking! Have your egg yolks seperated, beaten and ready to go in a separate bowl before you start.
- Simply combine the water, sugar, salt, lemon juice and cornflour in a non stick saucepan over a high heat. Whisk well as the mixture comes to the boil. Stir constantly, until the mixture is very thick, the consistency of a stiff gel. Once it's there, remove from the heat and whisk that mixture into the other bowl on the counter containing the egg yolks - be sure to whisk constantly! Now pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and return to the heat, whisking again while it cooks - I found this took 2-3 minutes for me. You're looking for a thick consistency and a bright, lump free yellow mixture as you'd expect from lemon curd, although it will harden when it cools. Once you're happy it's done, remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the beat and lemon zest. Continue whisking for a few minutes until the mixture is no longer piping hot (just warm) and pour into your pie shell. (Note, I made quite a small pie so had lemon curd leftover - I just poured it into a small glass jar and stored it in the fridge, until a mysterious assailant broke in one night and ate it all.).
- Pop your pie into the fridge to chill.
- Once your pie is completely chilled and cold, make the meringue topping! Simply combine the egg whites and sugar with the salt and vanilla in a large stand mixer, and whip until you reach mediumly firm peaks and the meringue can hold itself up on your spoon.
- Spread out the meringue over the pie - I used a palette knife to add some decorative twirls by simply pulling the knife away from the meringue - you could also use the back of a spoon! Then pop your pie under the grill until the top is golden brown. You're ready to serve! Store in the fridge.