The Experts

Lemon meringue pie – the perfect end-of-meal treat

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The beauty of the lemon meringue pie – other than it being my favourite dessert in the world – is that it goes with so many main courses. From a tasty chicken salad to tender oven-baked lamb loins, the lemon meringue is a perfect end-of-meal treat.

Sorry boys, I promise more beef next week!
Shortcrust pastry
You’ll need:
  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cold water
Then you:
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add a little water to the mixture and stir with a knife until mixture begins to come together into a ball.
  4. Lightly flour the workbench and knead briefly to form a smooth, firm dough.
  5. Wrap the ball of dough in glad-wrap and chill in refrigerator for half an hour.
  6. Roll the pastry out on the floured workbench to 5mm thick and drape over pastry tart pan, pressing the dough into the pan and trimming the edges.
  7. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 20 minutes.
  8. Line pastry with uncooked rice (to keep it weighted) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at approximately 180 degrees.
  9. Empty the rice from the pastry and add the lemon butter and top with the meringue mixture (recipe below).
  10. Cook for a following 10 minutes till the pastry is crispy and the meringue is golden.

N.B. You can use pre-made shortcrust pastry for the tarts – in my view, acceptable ‘cheating’ – but the real deal does taste just that little bit better.

Lemon butter 
You’ll need:
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2tsp lemon rind, finely grated
  • 125g butter, chopped

Then you:

  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
  2. Gradually add the water and the lemon juice and mix well.
  3. Add the butter and lemon rind and mix continuously, still over the water, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

N.B. What you don’t use for the meringues pour into sterilised jars. You can make a double mixture, as the lemon butter will keep for a few weeks.

Meringue

You’ll need:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g caster sugar

Then you:

  1. Beat the egg whites and the salt till soft peaks are formed.
  2. Gradually beat in the sugar a little at a time.
  3. Once the mixture is firm and glossy, it’s ready to top the pies.

Published: Friday, October 08, 2010

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