It's the last weekend in January, which means tax returns for many of my self-employed friends. I tried to do something to cheer L and H up a little and make sorting through mountains of receipts a little more bearable. I went round to their house and baked my first ever Lemon Meringue Pie. I also wanted it to be a little thank you, as they have been feeding me far too many nights in the last few weeks without me contributing much to any of it. So, girls, thank you! I hope you enjoyed the pie!
I got the recipe from the BBC Good Food website, but have copied it below for ease.
Lemon Meringue Pie
For the pastry:
175g plain flour
100g cold butter , cut in small pieces
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 egg yolk
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 of 1 small orange
85g butter , cut into pieces
3 egg yolks
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 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight).
Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
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.)
Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
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, stirring 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 for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon.
Take off the heat and set aside while you 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.
Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case.
Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling, 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, then give it all a swirl with a fork so you have nice peaks.
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 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. I like to chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.