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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Clear your table, put those boring stacks of paper away, abolish all mess and clutter from your living room, and welcome in the glowing attraction that is the Lemon Meringue Pie. Your afternoon (and evening) will be filled with a delectable blend of the tart, sourness and charm that are features of this famous pie. Indeed, any sort of meringue pie lends a pleasing aesthetic touch to all kinds of tables - always picture worthy, and just lovely to be around. All of which leads me to attempt to convince you that "It's easier to bake than it looks"! After trying this recipe for the first time, I was deeply surprised at how such simple ingredients produced a result that looked far more complex to create than it actually was. Making the filling is perhaps the most fulfilling part of this recipe as this is where the magic truly lies, but nonetheless, a basic jar of lemon curd from your local grocery store won’t do anyone any harm. The best time to serve this meringue pie is at the end of a long meal, after the main dishes you've also cooked. Strangely, it tastes better after dinner than eating it alone earlier in the afternoon.

Pastry
Plain Flour 175g
Butter 100g
Organic Icing Sugar 1 tbs
Egg Yolk 1

Filling
Cornflour 2 tbs
Unrefined Caster Sugar 100g
Lemon zest of skin 2 pieces
Lemon juice (fresh) 125ml
Pineapple juice 200ml
Butter 85g cubed
Egg yolks 3
Egg (whole) 1

Meringue
Egg whites, room temperature
Unrefined Caster Sugar 200g
Cornflour 2 tsp

For the pastry, put 175g plain flour, 100g cold butter (cut into small pieces), 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Blend until the mixture binds.

Transfer the pastry onto a floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin (this helps during post-baking).

Trim away the excess from the edge and press pastry into flutes. Use a fork to prick the base, line with baking paper and chill for 1 hour.

Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the baking paper and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked.

Set aside. Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Meanwhile, mix 2 level tbsp cornflour, 100g golden caster sugar and finely grated zest of 2 large lemons in a medium saucepan. Gradually strain and stir in 125ml lemon juice.

Heat the pineapple juice. Once it begins bubbling, remove from the heat and beat in 85g butter until melted. Beat 3 egg yolks (save white for meringue) and 1 whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat.

Continue stirring quickly for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but won’t curdle). Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

Put 4 egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add 100g of the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without over-beating.

Whisk in 2 level tsp cornflour, then add the remaining 100g of the caster sugar as before until smooth and thick. Reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case, spread evenly.

Pour meringue over the spread so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl.

Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1 hr before slicing.

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