Monday, 27 August 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie


Lemon Meringue Pie is one of those classic desserts that look amazing, taste so fresh and zesty but take a lot of patience to make!

I was inspired to tackle this classic pie after a lovely weekend at my cousin’s house in Canberra. When I first arrived at the house that weekend, my cousin’s Lemon Meringue Pie sat proudly on the kitchen table – meringue all tall and glistening. After a glorious long lunch we all tucked into some the Lemon Meringue Pie and I thought I have to learn how to make this!

This recipe originally comes from a Women’s Weekly classic recipe book. I followed the instructions and made my own sweet short crust pastry from scratch. You can also take a short cut and buy this pre-made. However, there is something quite satisfying about making the pie from scratch or maybe it is only me who thinks that way! Take on the challenge - it is worth the effort.

Home-made or bought sweet shortcrust pastry
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
50g unsalted butter, chopped
6 egg yolks

6 eggs whites
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
Pinch of cream of tarter

1) Lightly grease a pie plate. Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper into a 30cm circle. Remove the top sheet of baking paper and invert the pastry into the pie plate. Trim the edges.*

2) Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut into three 10 x 2 cm strips. Brush the pie rim with water, place the pastry strips around the top of the pastry rim and use your fingers to make a decorative edge. Prick all over the base with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to moderate 180 degrees.   

3) Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper that is large enough to cover the base and side of the pie plate, then pour in some baking beads or uncooked rice and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beads and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the base is dry. Cool. Increase the over to moderately hot 200 degrees.  

4) To make the lemon filling, place the flours, sugar, lemon juice and rind in a saucepan. Gradually add 1¼ cups (315ml) water and whisk over medium heat until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly for another 2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and vigorously whisk in the butter and egg yolks. Return to low heat and stir constantly for 2 minutes, or until very thick.

5) To make the meringue, beat the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a clean, dry bowl, with electric beaters, for 10mins or until thick and glossy**

6) Spread the lemon filling into the cooled pastry base, then spread the meringue over the top, piling high in the centre and making peaks with a knife. Bake for 8-10minutes or until lightly browned.

*be careful not to trim to short as the pastry will shrink in the oven.
** Add the sugar gradually to the mix to ensure your meringue has enough body

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