I’d been away for six weeks, missed my family, so I did a quick ring around to organise a Sunday night dinner.
The lemon tree was loaded with fruit… Lemon Meringue Pie would be on the menu…an Aussie classic!
Back in the dark ages, when I was in high school, all girls were required to attend cookery and sewing classes. This inspiringly named book was the government issue standard that we all learnt to cook from. The recipe I use today is a much richer adaptation of the original “Common Sense” version…
LEMON MERINGUE PIE
1/2 cup cornflour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind (remember to remove rind before you juice the lemons!)
1/2 cup lemon juice (approx. 3 lemons)
1+ 1/4 cups water
60 grams butter (approx. 4 tablespoons or 1/2 a stick)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar (for meringue topping)
Note- Lemon curd will need to cool and set for at least two hours before adding meringue…you can make the pastry and curd ahead of time…even the day before!
Start by making and baking my all-time favourite shortcrust pastry. Bake till golden.
Combine sugar and flour in saucepan.
Finely grate rind from lemons and add to dry flour/sugar mix in saucepan.
Squeeze lemons till you have 1/2 cup of juice.
In a separate jug combine lemon juice with water.
Combine all ingredients and place saucepan on high heat on stove.
Stir briskly until mixture begins to boil and thicken, reduce heat and continue to stir for another minute. Remove from heat.
Separate eggs. Keep whites aside for later use in meringue.
Add butter to mixture and stir till all combined.
Next add yolks and mix quickly to avoid egg curdling.
You will now have a gorgeous lemon curd!
Keep pastry in flan tin and put onto baking sheet or cake disc.
Pour lemon curd in pastry case.
Run a fork across warm curd to roughen surface. This will help meringue stick to curd during final baking.
Loosely cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
When curd has cooled you can make your meringue.
Turn oven on to 240 c. (460 f)
Start by beating egg whites.
When stiff peaks form slowly sprinkle in caster sugar.
Beat until mixture is thick and glossy and all sugar is dissolved.
Spread meringue over cooled curd.
And make a fancy pattern if you have a piping bag and excellent decorating skills! In my case I just run the spatula over the top to create a simple little meringue mountain range.
Place pie in 240 c (460 f.) oven and watch like mad*…it will only take minutes for the meringue to colour. When peaks become golden remove from oven. Allow to cool then carefully remove pie from flan tin and place on serving dish.
* Some recipes suggest using the grill setting at the top of your oven. In my experience this direct heat is too extreme and can quickly result in burning…it only takes seconds for your beautiful confection to turn into a self immolating disaster!
So once the pie was done I was free to mingle with the family and have a gin and tonic (just using up those lemons!) It’s always a good idea to refrain from drinking until meringue is done and safely out of oven…just saying!?
And there it was, this classic and easy lemon dessert… a perfect way to complete a perfect night with my darling family…it’s good to be home.
Cheers, Anna x
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