Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon meringue pie is a firm family favourite across the generations; hardly surprising as it is gorgeous. My recipe has a bit of a tang as that is how we like it or if you prefer it less strong, then cut back on the lemon juice and replace with water.
150ml cold water
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 unwaxed lemons, juice and zest
110g caster sugar
3 large free range egg yolks + 1 whole egg
2 tablespoons soft butter at room temperature
4 large egg whites (use the ones from the yolks above)
200g caster sugar
2 heaped teaspoons cornflour
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas 6
Make the tart case:
Line a 23cm tart tin with the pastry, trim the edges and leave the tart to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Cover the pastry including the rim with foil, tip in baking beans or rice and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove the filling and the foil and pop the case back into the oven for 5 minutes then put to one side while you make the lemon filling; this method is called blind baking.
Reduce the oven temperature to 175°C/Gas 4
Make the lemon meringue filling:
Put the water and cornflour into a saucepan and stir well, bring to a gentle boil and continue to stir until the mixture thickens then add the lemon juice and zest. Stir well until the juice is mixed in then add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes then add the egg yolk, whole egg and mix well. Finally, add the softened butter and beat well. Tip the filling into the baked case and put to one side.
Make the meringue:
Before you make the meringue, ensure your egg whites are at room temperature and that your bowl and whisk is scrupulously clean.
Whisk the egg whites (use a mixer or a whisk, whatever you feel comfortable with) until the whites start to thicken and the colour goes bright white. Then, add the sugar, a little at a time until you have used up approximately half.
Add the cornflour and continue whisking and adding the remaining sugar. Finally add the rest of the sugar gradually, again while still whisking until you have a thick, firm, shiny mixture in the bowl.
Assemble the pie and bake:
Dollop big spoons of meringue all over the filling and with a fork. Lightly spread the mixture around while avoiding pressing down.
Flick the edges to create tiny peaks, pop the tart into the middle of the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
After that time, turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for a further 20 but keep an eye on it, you want it to go golden brown with darker flecks on the peaks, but not too dark. Take it out when you feel comfortable with it. The meringue should be crisp on the surface, but it will still have a light, gooey centre.
Leave the pie to cool completely then eat as soon as you can for the best results. The pie will keep for 24 hours lightly covered with a cloth or airtight box, not in the fridge