Comforting, zesty and light, lemon meringue pie is the ultimate dessert. A sweet pastry case and thick lemon curd centre, topped with peaks of billowy meringue, the perfect pie is all about getting the right combination of textures, and tart and sweet flavours.
Take the time to really focus on your lemon curd filling – this will make all the difference. To make sure your curd is perfectly smooth and free from lumps, whisk it continuously as it cooks – and avoid overcooking it so it doesn’t curdle.
For the best results, let your filled tart cool completely before topping with the meringue.
THE BEST LEMON MERINGUE PIE
Plain flour, for dusting
1 x 375g pack of sweet pastry
3 tablespoons cornflour
270g caster sugar
3 medium lemons
50g unsalted butter, cubed
3 free-range egg yolks
4 free-range egg whites
- Preheat your oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Carefully fold the pastry over your rolling pin, then drape it over a 23cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin.
- Press the pastry into the edges, being careful not to tear it. If the pastry does tear, patch it up with leftover bits, but be thorough – any cracks will spring leaks! Trim the pastry with a knife, then push it 1cm to 2cm up the sides of the tin to allow for shrinkage in the oven.
- Cover the base of the tart with heat-proof clingfilm, or baking parchment, and fill it with baking beans or uncooked rice. Blind bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked.
- Remove the clingfilm and beans or rice, and return the tart shell to the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it’s golden and biscuity. Take the tart shell back out of the oven, leave to cool, and reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2.
- Make the lemon curd (see how here). Spoon the curd filling into the pastry case, and spread it out evenly. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (the longer the better), so the meringue won’t slip around when you spoon it over the top.
- Now, make the meringue. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites for 1 minute, or until thickened. Begin adding the rest of the sugar a little at a time, whisking each addition well, until you have a thick, glossy meringue.
- Use 2 tablespoons to blob the meringue over the cooled curd, making peaks as you go. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and set.
This beautiful dessert can be enjoyed either warm or cold, although if you’re serving it warm, let it cool slightly first so as not to burn your guests’ mouths!
For more delicious pastry-based desserts, why not try this rich and zesty chocolate & raspberry tart or Jamie’s Italian-inspired blackberry tart? Or, if meringue is more your thing, take a look at these recipes that embrace it as the hero.
*Lining your pastry with clingfilm is a technique favoured by chefs around the world. It is a completely safe, foolproof method and could save you time each time you bake blind.
Adapted from Jamie magazine