Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic dessert. It combines a crisp pastry case with sharp lemon custard and billowing meringue peaks. It’s always popular and can be served as a dessert or with afternoon tea.
This is a recipe to show off your baking skills. Don’t let that put you off because I will take you through the process step by step. There are three elements to a good Lemon Meringue Pie.
First, you need a good blind-baked pastry case. The pastry is filled with a thick lemon custard with a good tangy lemon flavour. Finally, we come to the meringue which is crisp and chewy on top and marshmallow-soft underneath.
How do I choose a good lemon?
Choose an unwaxed organic lemon. I use the zest of the lemon in the Lemon Meringue Pie so you don’t want wax or pesticides in your lemon filling.
Pick up the lemon and hold it, it should feel heavy. A heavy fruit has a thinner skin and more juice it has. A ripe lemon is firm, with a fine-textured peel and a deep yellow color.
What kind of eggs should I use?
The yolks from your eggs are used in the lemon custard and the whites to make the meringue. Use eggs that are 3-4 days old to get maximum volume in your meringue. If you have your own hens or buy from a farm, make sure you keep the eggs for a couple of days before making the meringues.
Carefully separate the whites from the yolks, even a speck of egg yolk will stop your meringues from beating to glossing peaks.
What kind of sugar should I use in my meringue?
Use caster or superfine sugar to make the meringue. The sugar should be dry and at room temperature, if there are any lumps, then use a sieve and sift the sugar into a bowl before adding to the beaten egg white.
What kind of pastry should I use to make Lemon Meringue Pie?
Use shortcrust pastry to make the pastry case. Shortcrust is the easiest pastry to make and I take you through the steps to make light, crisp and crumbly pastry.
However, if you don’t have time or decide not to make your own pastry, then you can buy a ready-made shortcrust or a ready-made sweet pastry case.
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 225 g plain flour
- 150 g butter diced
- 25 g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 large lemons
- 40 g cornflour
- 300 ml water
- 2 egg yolks
- 75 g caster sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 125 g caster sugar
For the pastry base
- Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the caster sugar, then mix to a dough with the egg yolk and a little cold water if necessary.
- Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Roll out on a lightly dusted work surface and use to line a 9 inch loose-bottomed flan tin.
- Bake blind, covering the base with baking paper or foil and fill with baking beans.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
- Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until lightly coloured.
For the lemon filling
- Grate the rind and squeeze the juice from the lemons.
- Put the juice and rind in a bowl with the cornflour. Add two tbsp from the water and blend to form a paste.
- Boil the rest of the water and pour onto the cornflour mixture. Put the mixture into a pan and bring to the boil stirring all the time, simmer for about 3 minutes until it is thick.
- Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks and sugar, then return to the stove and heat through for a minute.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a minute. Then spoon into the baked pastry case.
For the meringue
- Heat the oven to 160 C
- Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, whisking in well after each spoonful.
- Spoon over the lemon filling spreading right up to the edge of the pastry.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the meringue is pale golden brown.