Lemon Meringue Pie

A classic lemon meringue pie, with a few twists and turns to make it a bit extra special 🙂

Lemon meringue pie is one of those classic desserts, with most recipes being inherited from generation to generation. Unfortunately, this is not one which I inherited from anyone, so I had to consult a multitude of recipes, combine different ones, to come up with my version.

Despite looking similar, different recipes produce very different results. To begin, the base can be made from a short crust pastry, or a biscuit base. The filling can take the form of a traditional (thickened) lemon curd or a condensed milk filling and the meringue can either be French or Italian. Here is what I decided to go with and why …..

For the crust, I opted for a crisp golden short crust pastry as I feel you can control the sweetness a bit better, than with a biscuit base. Admittedly, a biscuit base is easier however, so you decide 😉

For the filling, I found the traditional lemon curd fillings to be far too tart, almost cloyingly so. In all honesty, I also favoured the condensed milk filling because of its simplicity, after spending a bit more time on the pastry.

Lastly, my favourite meringue is always an Italian version over a French. I find that it makes a more dense, marshmallowy meringue that is more stable – not deflating as easily.

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MAKING THIS RECIPE?

  • There are a few components to this recipe, but do not be intimidated by them – take a breath and tackle them step by step. In fact, there is sufficient resting time between each step to allow you to focus on just a single component at a time.

Pastry

  • For the pastry, it is important not to overwork the dough. Do not mix it in the food processor until it comes together. Instead, it will look like very fine crumbs in the food processor. At this point, tip it onto a work surface and bring it together by hand.
  • Resting the pastry at the stated times is crucial to ensure it has that firm crispness to it.
  • Blind baking is essential to avoid a soggy bottom 🙂
  • Alternative base: A biscuit base may be used instead of a sweet shortcrust pastry. See here for a recipe.

Filling

  • If your oven is too hot, the filling will curdle as the eggs scramble.
  • Once you have baked the crust at 180 degrees Celcius, make sure that you reduce the temperature to 160 degrees Celcius and let the oven cool down for a few minutes.
  • When the baked pie, with filling comes out of the oven. Let it cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for a few hours, before topping with a meringue.

Meringue

  • I have chosen to use an Italian Meringue recipe, as I like the marshmallow feel that it provides.
  • It is a bit more finicky however, so if you prefer, use a French meringue recipe. There are a plethora on the web!

CRUST

  • 125g cold butter, cubed
  • 210g cake flour
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1.5 tsp ice water
  • Dont mix until the dough forms a solid mass as this will overwork the pastry and make it tough and risk it shrinking more as it bakes.

METHOD

  1. Place the flour, ground almonds, icing sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined.
  2. Then add the butter and pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the water, vanilla and egg.
  4. With the food processor running, slowly add the liquid to the food processor and pulse until the pastry just starts to come together.
  5. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and bring together into a uniform dough, using your hands.
  6. Shape into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour and a half before using.
  7. Once the dough has chilled, roll out and line a 20cm, deep pie dish, crimp the edges of the pie.
  8. Place again in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and line the tart with a crumpled piece of parchment paper and fill with baking beans
  10. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then remove the parchment and the baking beans and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees celcius to bake the tart filling.

FILLING

  • 770g condensed milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 250ml lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Pour the condensed milk and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks well, and add the condensed milk mixture. Mix well.
  3. Pour this mixture into the crust and bake for 20 minutes. The filling should be set on the side, with a slight jiggle in the middle.
  4. Set aside to cool for a few hours, before making the meringue topping.

MERINGUE

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 340g sugar
  • 60ml water

METHOD

  1. Beat the egg whites until foamy.
  2. Heat the sugar and water on the stove, until it reaches about 118 degrees celcius. If you do not have a themometer, the sugar should be fully dissolved in the water and the mixture should come up to a boil and be bubbling.
  3. Take the sugar and water mixture off the heat and set aside to let the bubbles subside.
  4. The slowly stream this syrup into the egg whites, continuing to beat all the time until a still and glossy meringue forms. The bowl should have cooled down after whipping the egg whites for a few minutes.
  5. Spoon the meringue onto the pie and finish off with a blow torch.

Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com

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