Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourite desserts to cook and eat. This recipe is the way I like to make this classic dessert although I must confess that I don’t normally bother with the torching of the meringue. I like the silky softness of the un-torched meringue but it can be fun to do, so the choice is yours.
When blind baking the pastry it is important to cook it completely. The lemon filling is a custard which is set with the help of gelatine and so the only oven time the pastry will get is during the blind baking, so don’t be afraid to take the pastry into the well-done territory. You will need a kitchen thermometer for this recipe.
250 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
150 g butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
65 ml chilled water
1 tsp vinegar
230 g caster sugar
215 ml lemon juice
2 tbls lemon zest
Good pinch salt
215 g unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 x sheet of gelatine
Pinch tartaric acid
1 1/2 tbls corn flour
120 g caster sugar
3 egg whites
MAKE THE PASTRY
1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Rub the butter into flour mix and then tip the mixture onto your workbench. Sprinkle over the water and vinegar.
2. Using the palms of your hands bring the mix together by smearing the mixture together. Form the pastry into a disc, wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
3. Roll out the pastry and line a 24 cm tart tin. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and continue baking for another 15 – 20 minutes, or until the pastry has become golden brown.
MAKE THE LEMON FILLING
4. In a bowl mix the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and the mixture reaches 75 C.
5. Soak gelatine leaf in cold water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and squeeze out any excess water before placing softened leaf into the lemon mixture and mix to combine.
6. Stir in salt and slowly whisk in butter.
7. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature pour through a sieve into the cooked pastry case. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
MAKE THE MERINGUE
8. Mix the sugar, tartaric acid and corn flour together.
9. Place the sugar mixture into a bowl with the egg whites and place over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture reaches 80 C
10. Remove from the heat and beat with electric beaters for 10 minutes.
11. Pile the meringue onto the lemon mixture and, if the mood is right, scorch the top of the meringue with a kitchen torch.