A creative lifestyle blog.

Friday, 16 October 2015

THE CLASSIC LEMON MERINGUE PIE.


I feel like this post deserves some sort of round of applause. Not only did I actually manage to take the time to get creative this week and crack out the paintbrush (more on that soon), I even got the time to whip up one of the boyfriends favourite bakes and earn some serious girlfriend points whilst I'm at it - winner. 

Lemon meringue pie is a classic that everyone and their mum loves but people tend to be put off by making their own pastry or meringue. I get it, it can daunting taking on things you've never tried before but the satisfaction of nailing 3 separate elements is so much more than a basic bake. I just want to stress that I am very much an amateur cook and if I can do it, you can too! 

YOU WILL NEED:
For the pastry you will need 175g plain flour, 100g cold butter cut into small pieces, 1 TBSP icing sugar and 1 egg yolk. For the filling you will need 2 level TBSP cornflour, 100g golden caster sugar, finely grated zest of 2 large lemons, 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons), juice of 1 small orange, 85g butter cut into small pieces, 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg. For the meringue you will need 4 egg whites at room temperature, 200g golden caster sugar and 2 level TSP of cornflour. 


METHOD:
For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 TBSP of cold water into a food processor, alternatively you can just use a bowl and wooden spoon. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a sheet of baking paper and lightly flour. Gather together your pastry until smooth and then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin.  Trim and neaten the edges before pressing the pastry into the flutes. The pastry is quite rich so do not worry if it cracks, just press it back together! Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down and chill for 1/2 and hour to 1 hour. 

Put a baking sheet into the oven and heat oven to 200C fan/180C gas. Bake the pastry case 'blind' (filled with dry baking beans or rice) for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beads before baking for a further 5-8 minutes until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside and lower the oven to 180C fan/160C gas. 

While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour sugar and lemon juice gradually. Make the orange juice up to 200ml with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until blended. Beat the egg yolks (save whites for meringues) and whole egg together, stir into the saucepan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring for a few minutes until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

Put the egg whites into a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add in half of the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without over beating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry. This will anchor it and help it stop sliding. Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling, then give it all a swirl to decorate. 

Return to the oven for 18-20 minutes until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 minutes then remove and leave for at least an hour before slicing. 
As always, if you try this recipe for yourself make sure you share a photo with me on Instagram or Twitter
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