Lemon meringue pies are a baking classic - a crisp, butter pastry encasing a silky, bittersweet filling and topped with a pile of fluffy meringue. So understandably, I was a bit nervous about taking on this baking challenge. I feared I would produce an uneven pastry leaking a sticky, sloppy, soup of lemon curd and topped by a broken, weeping meringue.
So before I started I armed myself with the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book and some tips from this baking blog.
Luckily, my lemon meringue pie turned out pretty well for a first attempt. Not perfect - the ratio of filling to meringue was a bit off, but I think this was because I used enormous lemons and eggs that were a bit too small. The large amount of filling also caused the pie to leak, creating what Paul Hollywood would scorn as a soggy bottom. But to you Paul, I say this: No-one has a dry bottom when you're in the room, you silver fox.
Also, my egg whites were not stiff enough to pipe, so next time I'll use the Italian meringue technique. The recipe below includes the alterations I would make next time I attempt a lemon meringue pie.
This is what the pie looked like:
And this is how to make it:
You will need:
For the pastry:
87g butter or margarine meant for use in pastry (I used Stork)
3-5 tbsp water
an 8-inch quiche or pie tin
For the filling:
2 unwaxed lemons
2 large egg yolks
125g granulated sugar
For the meringue:
2 large egg whites
75g caster sugar
a sugar thermometer
1. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
8. Preheat the oven to 150C. To make the meringue, heat the caster sugar and 80ml water until it reaches 110C on the sugar thermometer. Continue heating and meanwhile, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. When the sugar syrup reaches 115C, pour it slowly into the egg whites, whipping all the time but being careful not to get any of the sugar syrup on the whisk.
9. When the meringue cools (up to 15 minutes later) pipe it onto the cooled lemon filling, making sure it is completely covered, then bake for 35 minutes.
See you next time my little meringues,