The Simple Things
Lemon meringue pie
A classic lemon meringue pie is a joy. Zingy lemon curd sitting inside a buttery, crumbly pastry case, all covered with a blanket of fluffy, white meringue. This recipe is from Jasper, courtesy of his mum, Julia.
for the pastry 225g plain flour ½ tbsp caster sugar 170g butter, chilled and diced 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tbsp water for the lemon curd 110g butter 170g caster sugar Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 3 eggs, beaten for the meringue 3 egg whites 150g caster sugar
1 To make the pastry, place flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in the cold butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
2 Add half the beaten egg yolk and water and bring pastry together with your hands. Add a little more water if it needs it. Don’t knead, but shape into a round, 2cm thick. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 mins or up to 24 hours. You can also make the pastry in a food processor. If you have any egg wash left, reserve it for brushing over the pastry after the blind baking. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/350F).
3 Take a 23cm metal tart tin with removable sides. Put pastry between 2 sheets (larger than your tart tin) of cling film. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is 3mm thick. Make sure to keep it round, and large enough to line the base and sides of the tin.
4 Removing just the top layer of cling film, place the pastry upside down (cling film side up) into the tart tin (no need to flour or grease the tin). Press the pastry into the edges, cling film still attached and, using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry on the edge of the tin. It should look quite neat. If there are any holes or gaps, patch with some spare pastry. Remove the cling film and chill the pastry case in the fridge for 15 mins or the freezer for 5 mins.
5 Bake blind by lining the pastry with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or dried pulses and bake for 20–25 mins in the oven until the pastry feels just dry to the touch on the base. Remove the paper and beans, brush with a little egg yolk and water and return to oven for 3 mins. Again, if there are any little holes or cracks in the pastry, just patch it up with any leftover raw pastry as the filling will leak out of these in the oven if not patched up. Once the pastry is baked blind, take out of the oven and set aside in the tin to cool. This can be easily made a day in advance and covered until you need it. Leave the oven on at the same temperature.
6 To make the lemon curd, over a very low heat melt the butter with the sugar, lemon zest and strained juice. Add the beaten eggs and stir carefully over a low heat until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon, holding the mark that your finger makes when you draw a line through it. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
Scoop the cooled lemon curd into the cooled pastry shell and set aside.
7 For the meringue, put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat until they hold stiff peaks. Next, add 1 tbsp of the sugar and continue to whisk until stiff, then fold in the remaining sugar. Spread the meringue over the lemon curd to fill the tart tin, using the back of a spoon to lift up little snowy meringue peaks all over the top.
8 Place the pie in the oven and bake for 10 mins until deep golden on top. Remove from oven and leave to stand for 5 mins before transferring from the tin to a serving plate.