Until I made this a couple of weeks ago, I’d never ever attempted to make this monster of a pudding. I used Mary Berry’s recipe (unrelated to my book challenge) and just found it worked perfectly – as one would expect from such an esteemed lady!
Although it can seem that it isn’t going to work, I can assure you – it most definitely does! Two tips for you:
- This recipe uses a lot of lemons; to get the most out of them and not strain your arms; cut the lemons in half and place in a large heat proof bowl. Then put the microwave on for 30 secs at a time until they’re fairly hot.
- The filling can seem quite ‘watery’ and not quite set when you get it out the oven. Leave it to cool and then place in the fridge or a cold place for about 30/45 mins before you want to eat it. That way you will end up with a nice firm filling and not a mess when you cut into it! You don’t want to go to all that hassle for nothing!
Why don’t you try it too?
For the pastry:
- 225g plain flour
- 175g butter
- 45g icing sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
For the filling:
- 6 lemons, zest and juice
- 65g/2¼oz cornflour
- 250g/9oz caster sugar
- 6 free-range egg yolks
For the meringue topping:
- 4 free-range egg whites
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Let’s make the pastry first! Measure out the flour and butter blend together using your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor, then that’s even better (lucky you!)
- Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and continue blending together until it comes together in a ball in the bowl.
- Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin.
- Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry.
- Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.
- Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans.
- Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes
- Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3½.
- For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste.
- Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil.
- Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
- In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.
- For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Add the cornflour and whisk again.
- Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. Then create a swirl on the top of the meringue.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.
- If you have a blow torch, use it to create a nice effect on the meringue once out of the oven!
This is lovely served with some vanilla ice cream and strawberries – brings out the sharpness and sweetness of the lemon filling!