Lemon Meringue Pie

 Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

My absolute all time 100% favourite dessert.  Too often I have ordered Lemon Meringue Pie in restaurants, only to be served gritty meringue (or worse – marshmallow) fake lemon curd and soggy pastry.  If I can offer you only one thing at the cooking bug, let it be my Mum's Lemon Meringue Pie.

I remember my Mum making this when I was little – standing by the stove watching the alchemy of lemon juice and cornflour, eggs and sugar turning into an amazing tower of sweetness.  I was always transfixed by the way the ingredients came together – just who discovered meringue anyway?  I used to ponder that concept a lot...  Regardless of the history, this is still one of the all-time great desserts. 

Pre-heat oven to 200°C

 For the Base:

1 ¼ cups of plain flour

2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar

125 grams of butter

 3 tablespoons iced water

 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Rub the flour, icing sugar and butter together until it is a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add water and lemon juice to form a sturdy dough.  Press into a deep sided pie dish or spring-form cake tin and refrigerate for 15 minutes before blind baking at 200°C.  Once crust is cooked, lower oven temperature to 150°C.

For the Filling:

¼ cup of cornflour

⅓ cup water

1 cup of lemon juice

Zest of 3 lemons

¾ cup of caster sugar

6 egg yolks

30 grams of butter, softened

Place cornflour and water into a small dish and mix to a thick paste.  Pour into a cold saucepan with lemon zest and juice and sugar.  Stir over a moderate heat until thickened.  Remove from heat and whisk in softened butter and egg yolks.  Whisk vigorously until mixture is very thick and glossy.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Allow to cool to room temperature before pouring into (blind baked) pie crust.

For the Meringue:

6 egg whites

¾ cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

Pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon of cornflour

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites to stiff peaks, gradually adding all other ingredients.  Meringue mix should be very thick and glossy and the peaks very stiff.

Spoon the meringue mix over the lemon filling and decoratively swirl into high peaks.

Bake for 25 minutes at 150°C, or until some of the meringue peaks are just turning golden brown.  Turn off the oven and allow pie to cool in the oven. 

For an extra embellishment, scatter a few flaked almonds into the meringue before cooking. 

Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream.