A zingy lemon filling with a golden crisp top meringue and absolutely no soggy bottoms. Mary Berry would be proud.
I hope you are all owners of slightly rounder stomachs in the wake of Easter, if not please come and help yourself to my chocolate before I resemble Augustus Gloop.
The sun is shining today, so maybe spring has finally arrived (touch wood, white rabbits). Either way, I am going to provide you with a springy zingy recipe to celebrate, and bombard you with cheesy puns and sayings along the way.
This is the first Lemon Meringue Pie I have ever made, so it’s proof that anyone can make it with success. The proof is in the pudding!
I was helped by life long best friend Polly Wicks (can’t get rid of her), who was especially good removing egg shells and taking pictures. There were a few ups and downs along the way; at one point it nearly fell on the floor, which I’m sure Mr Pigley would have been very happy about. But we made it out the other side mostly unscathed.
Confession: I didn’t make the pastry due to time constraints, laziness, and a short attention span. Next time I will I promise!
Also, before we start I would like words with whoever invented the spelling for Meringue. Seriously give me a break, my spell check has never had to work harder.
You will need:
- Sweet short crust pastry- bought or made. Don’t feel guilty if you cheat, Delia does it!
For the filling:
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
- 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
- juice 1 small orange
- 85g butter , cut into chunks
- 3 egg yolks and plus 1 whole egg
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites at room temperature, avoid all yolks!
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
1) First you need to bake your pastry so that it retains it’s shape and there is no soggy business. Roll it out and lay it into your 23 x 2.5cm pastry tin with push out base. Leave the excess over the edges as the pastry shrinks in the oven, you can cut it off afterwards. I didn’t do this… I call it literal shortcrust pastry.
Bake it at 180 degrees for 15 mins with greaseproof paper and rice on it to weigh it down and stop the pastry rising.
2) Remove the greaseproof and bake for another 4 mins.
3) Leave this to one side and begin to make your filling. For this you need to stir your sugar, cornflour and lemon juice together on a medium heat in a pan. Do this until it is slightly sticky, then add your zest and orange juice, plus however much water you need to make the orange juice up to 200 ml.
4) Stir until thick, bubbling and smooth. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter chunks until melted.
5) Beat in the egg yolks and whole egg- save the egg whites for the meringue. The trick with separating egg yolks is to crack the egg in half, keeping the yolk as a whole in one half of the shell and the white dribbles out. I’m always scared when I do this! But try this tutorial.
6) The mix will be thick, yellow, custard looking and jelly like. Remove it from the heat and now make the meringue.
7) Beat the 4 egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Make sure there is no yolk or shell in the whites- polly was in charge of this!
8) Add the sugar gradually with the corn flour. It will still form thick peaks and have a glistening sheen to the mix. If it is ready you can hold your bowl upside down and the mix won’t fall out!
9) Reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case, then spoon on the meringue starting from around the edges or it will sink in the middle.
10) Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins at 180 degrees until the meringue is slightly golden and crisp on top. Let it cool in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave it to cool for another 1hr.