It all began on Saturday night with an unusual, but not unheard of decision: lemon meringue pie. I’ve never had great success with lemon meringue pie; soggy pastry, runny lemon curd, watery meringue.
I found a recipe by my favourite baking man Dan Lepard, and quickly whizzed up the pastry and made a very tart lemon curd. I lined my pastry case, chilled it, and blind-baked it. But then my lemon meringue curse struck again; the pastry shell had cracked. There was a bit of swearing, followed by an overly dramatic binning of the pastry shell. Lemon curd was thrown into the fridge and I went to bed without a belly full of pie.
The next morning I attempted the pastry again. I had been thinking for some time that a shortcake base for a lemon meringue pie would be ideal. Sure enough, it worked perfectly. A golden crunchy base that can withstand a weight of lemon curd and meringue without going soggy.
We had lemon meringue pie for breakfast and it was perfect.
Lemon meringue pie
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s recipe
For the shortcake:
plain flour 125g
cold butter 75g, chopped into cubes
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until starts to cling together slightly. Tip into a 20cm loose-bottom tart tin and press down into the base firmly. Bake at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
For the lemon curd:
lemon juice 250ml
caster sugar 150g
free range egg yolks 3
butter 25g, cubed
Put all ingredients except butter into a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Add butter and whisk over a moderate heat until it comes to the boil, and then remove from heat. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd and set aside until cooled. Once cold spoon onto the cooked shortcake base.
For the meringue:
free range egg whites 4
caster sugar 125g
Put the egg whites into a large clean bowl and beat like crazy until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually in thirds, beating for a couple of minutes between each addition. Spoon onto the lemon curd filled pie and bake at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes until the meringue has browned.