I love Lemon Meringue Pie, and it was always part of the special “Birthday Meal” Mum would cook on my request. Mum always did a great job but I had never bothered to try it myself. Yesterday I found myself with a bowl full of egg whites so I tried to find a way to use them. Ah, yes – Lemon Meringue Pie! As it turned out you need all the yolks from those egg whites as well (so I’ll have to find another way to use the ones in the fridge) but it turned out so well I had to share it.
Adapted from this BBC Good Food recipe.
For the pastry
- 175g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
For the filling
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- finely grated zest 2 large lemon
- 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- juice 1 small orange
- 85g butter, cut into pieces
- 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg
For the meringue
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind.
- Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. The pastry is quite rich, so don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
- Now put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 180C fan forced.
- While the pastry chills, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon and generally behaves like a curd should. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside.
- Back to the pastry. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.)
- Turn your hotplate on, ready to reheat the curd.
- Now we make the meringue. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick.
- Now quickly reheat the filling and once too hot to stick your finger in, pour it into the pastry case.
- Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl.
- Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 30 minutes before slicing. Eat the same day. Or later. Whenever.