Lemon Meringue Pie

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So, my exam’s start next week (the first is on Friday) and this weekend has been a tough one. I’m stressed out (as are other people in my life) and so I took comfort in pie because I couldn’t find it anywhere else [insert violin solo audio].

I know what you’re thinking: Fabienne, it’s pie time you showed us how to make Lemon Meringue. I can’t believe I just made that joke. Forgive me.

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This pie has forever been my arch nemesis. For some reason, I have always found it ridiculously hard to make and I’ve gotten so frustrated in the process countless times. My presentation with this pie is not perfection, I’ll admit, but damn does it taste good. The pastry is sweet and flaky, the curd is smooth and tart and the meringue is fluffy and delicate… Let me just go grab another slice, I’ll be right back…

*pie eating intermission*

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But seriously now. Back to business. This pie is seriously good. Fair enough, it’s a bit of a long process to make, but it’s so worth it at the end and you’ll be thanking me profusely for sharing this beautiful recipe (you’re welcome fellow citizens). Give it a try, I guarantee you’ll absolutely love it.

For the pastry:

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 125g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 35g icing sugar (what?!)
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the filling:

  • 4 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 450ml water
  • The zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 3
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs

Let us begin. Grease a 10 inch pie tin with butter. Throw 2 tablespoons of flour (not the flour you’ve just weighed out) into the grease tin and shimmy it about to coat the whole thing in a thin layer of flour.

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In a large bowl combine your flour and butter. Rub the two together in-between your finger tips. When you’ve achieved a fine bread-crumb like consistency add in your icing sugar and the zest. Using a fork combine all of the ingredients together. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the milk. Add the two to the dry bread-crummy mixture. With a rounded edged knife, cut through the pastry mixture combining the two gently.

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Check me out with my 4 frame pictures! When you see the mixture begin to come together, switch to your hands and gently kneed with your hands just until all is combined into a beautiful ball of doughy goodness. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF and pop a baking tray in there to heat up. When you blind bake the pastry, the hot tray will prevent the pie from having a soggy bottom.

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Once the dough has been chilled, turn it out onto a floured sheet of grease proof paper. Do your best to roll it out into a circle about 5 mm in depth. The pastry will be very short due to it’s sugar content; if the dough cracks and you find it tough to roll out, butter your fingers and massage the cracks until they join again.

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Place the pastry into your prepared pie dish and peel off the grease proof. Pinch in the sides of the pastry into the pie dish fitting the pattern of your dish. Roll your rolling pin over the top of the dish to get rid of the excess pastry. Prick the surface of the pastry all over to allow the steam to escape. Place your grease proof paper back into the pastry case and fill with ceramic beads ready for a blind bake (yes, I used ceramic tiles. I ran out of beads. Don’t judge, it worked!) Pop it into the oven for 20 minutes. When it’s done, take it out of the oven, remove the grease proof and allow to cool whilst you make the curd. Decrease the oven temperature to gas mark 3/160°C/325ºF.

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To make the filling, combine the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of your water. In a saucepan, combine the lemon juice, the water and the cornstarch paste. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Allow to cool. Separate all of your eggs and in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks together with 7 tablespoons of the weighed out sugar. Combine the egg yolk and the lemon/cornstarch mixture together and beat until lusciously smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve to get rid of any cornstarch lumps and the zest in the curd.

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Beat your eggs whites in a clean, metallic bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar until you’re left with a ribbon like meringue mixture. Pour in your curd into the blind-baked pastry case and then top with the meringue. Swirl your meringue fancily until you obtain your desired swirly appearance.

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Bake for 45 minutes until the top of the meringue is a toasted brown colour. Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours before chilling it in the fridge for a further 2 hours. Pop it out of you tin et voila!!

I know what you’re thinking “Fabienne, the process is far too long!” but c’mon… wasn’t worth it?

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