I have cheated a little for this week’s Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s. I didn’t cook anything. Instead I let my boyfriend make all the effort and stood back and had a good giggle to myself whilst he did so. He, however, had the last laugh and produced the most marvellous lemon meringue pie ever, which I am going to share with you now.
Ste's Marvellous Lemon Meringue Pie
Taken from BBC Good Food Website
For the pastry
- 175g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
For the filling
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- finely grated zest 2 large lemon
- 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- juice 1 small orange
- 85g butter, cut into pieces
- 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg
For the meringue
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. The pastry is quite rich, so don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight) (tempting to leave this stage out, but it really helps!).
- 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 foil 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.
- While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.
- Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading 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 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.
It was absolutely divine, and I am not really a fan of lemon meringue pie – usually too sweet for me, but the perfect tartness of the lemon layer was offset so well by the meringue that the balance was just right. I managed to stop after, er, two whole slices!
Ste was very pleased with himself indeed, and I have to admit, I was very impressed with the way he executed the recipe exactly as the instructions said. I thought he would be tempted to cut corners or skip bits in his enthusiasm for sampling the finished thing as soon as possible, but he was very strict about leaving everything the required time.
However – and this is what made me giggle – sadly the instructions did not mention that it would be possible to make this recipe with just two bowls and one saucepan. Which led to almost every item in the kitchen being put to use at some point, and a detritus left at the end of the job which would have been more commensurate with cooking for an entire wedding party!! Now I may be generalising somewhat (and I apologise in advance to the male culinary geniuses out there), but this seems rather typical to me of blokes cooking. The opportunity he took whilst whisking the meringue to open a beer was also classic. And he was very chuffed to get some tablet action in there too, with his recipe proudly propped up on the counter. I won’t complain though – if the recipe for perfect lemon meringue pie is Ste + mess + beer + technology then I’ll take it any day!! Just so long as his effort towards cleaning up afterwards goes a bit further than licking all the bowls!*
*Which to be fair to him, it did!