Zing Zing, Lemon Meringue Pie!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

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Why don’t you try it too?

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. 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!)
  3. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and continue blending together until it comes together in a ball in the bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry.image
  7. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.
  8. Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes
  10. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3½.
  11. For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste.
  12. Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil.
  13. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
  17. 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.
  18. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.
  19. If you have a blow torch, use it to create a nice effect on the meringue once out of the oven!

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This is lovely served with some vanilla ice cream and strawberries – brings out the sharpness and sweetness of the lemon filling! 

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