Lemon meringue pie

lemon meringue pie

I’ve been meaning to try making a lemon meringue pie for ages now. I thought they were fussy, complicated puddings to make, but I finally got around to it last weekend and it turned out to be so much easier than I was expecting.

I used a recipe from master baker Dan Lepard, and it was indeed as simple as he promised. The pastry is perfectly light and crisp, while the meringue is soft, fluffy and marshmallow-like. I made one slight change and that was to add some lime juice to the proceedings. I like a lot of contrast in my lemon meringue pie. The meringue has to be verging on sickeningly sweet and so that must be counteracted with a really tangy sharp citrus. I like super tangy. Lime as well as lemon is perfect for that.

The pie went down well with the whole family, particularly Jessie who isn’t generally much of a pudding girl. She came back for seconds. And I enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast on Easter Monday – ever so decadent.

NB instructions for Aga cooks are at the end of the recipe.

lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

For the pastry

125g plain flour
½ tsp salt
25g icing sugar
75g butter
1 egg yolk
2 tsp cold water

For the lemon filling

100ml lemon juice
100ml lime juice
50ml orange juice
150g caster sugar
25g cornflour
3 egg yolks
25g butter

For the meringue

4 egg whites
125g caster sugar

To make the pastry, put the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Chop the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour. Mix in the egg yolk and water to form a soft paste. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Dan Lepard says to take a 20cm round deep tart case with a removable base but I used a cake tin. Grease your tart case or cake tin. Roll out the dough fairly thinly and line the tin’s base and sides. Press gently into the sides, trim the edges and then chill for another half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170C or Gas Mark 3.

Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and weigh down with baking beans. Bake the pastry case for 20 to 25 minutes. Then remove the paper and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is dry and golden. Leave to cool.

To make the filling, place the lemon, lime and orange juices in a saucepan with the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Place over a low heat and add the butter. Keep stirring while it comes to the boil. Pour the filling into the tart case, leaving a slight gap at the top. Leave to cool completely.

For the meringue, beat the egg whites in large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, beating in well before the next lot of sugar goes in. You should end up with a thick and glossy  meringue.

Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon tart. With the oven still set to 170C or Gas Mark 3, bake for roughly 25 minutes until golden and the meringue has set but is still soft. Leave to cool before serving.

Aga instructions

If you’re using a two-door Aga like me, bake the pastry case on the floor of the roasting oven for 10 to 15 minutes, before removing the beads and baking for a further 5 minutes or so until the pastry is golden.

To cook the full pie, start it off in the middle of the roasting oven for about four minutes until the meringue turns a light brown. Then carefully move down to the top of the simmering oven for another 20 minutes until the meringue is set.

lemon meringue pie

If you liked this, you might also like to try:

Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart
Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart
Blackberry and cardamom pavlova
Blackberry and cardamom pavlova
Peach pie
Peach pie

Love heart jam tarts for Daddy

I spent this afternoon in the kitchen with my two girls baking these oh-so-easy jam tarts for their Daddy for Valentine’s Day.

I offer them up to you now, at this late stage in the day, just in case you’ve failed to remember it is 14 February tomorrow and you need a very quick idea to help rustle up a little loving something for your own loved one. Chances are you’ll have all the ingredients you need in the fridge and store cupboard. Go with any flavour jams you fancy.

OK, so it’s not sophisticated baking but I’m sure you’ll receive a warm smile when you present a plate full of these lovelies to the love of your life. And if you can get any children you might have around the place involved in their preparation, so much the better.

Love heart jam tarts

230g plain flour
Pinch salt
115g butter
2-3 tbsp cold water
Strawberry or raspberry jam, lemon curd – you choose!
Icing sugar

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Many hands make light work. Apparently.

Use a knife to gradually mix in enough cold water to bring the mixture together so that you can form a ball in your hands. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

Smear with butter a 12-holed tart tin.

Sprinkle the work surface and your rolling pin with flour. Roll out the pastry until about 0.25cm thick. Use a circular cutter to cut out 12 circles and place in the tart tin, pressing gently into place. Save the rest of the pasty for the heart lids. Prick the bottom of each one with a fork.

Bake the circles in the oven for six minutes until lightly golden. Remove and leave to cool for a few minutes.

You may need to use your fingers to slide the jam off the spoon. Licking of fingers may therefore be necessary.

Carefully (or not so carefully depending on your helpers) spoon a desert spoonful of your chosen jam/s into each tart.

Roll out the leftover pastry and using a heart-shaped cutter cut out your heart lids. Place these on top of each of your tarts.

I give you my heart!

Return the tarts to the oven for six to eight minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before carefully using a knife to gently slide each tart out of the tin and onto a wire rack. When completely cool, arrange on a plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.