100g plain flour
25g block margarine
25g white fat
2 eggs (separated)
25g caster sugar
100g caster sugar
2 egg whites
Prep to Cook: Mixing bowl, rolling pin, ovenproof pie dish, hand held mixer, wooden spoon, saucepan, tablespoon, teaspoon, grater, plate, oven proof pie plate or flan dish.
Oven temperature 200 C or Gas Mark 6
Prep: Prepare the shortcrust pastry and line the flan dish or pie plate. Bake this blind for 15 minutes and then remove the beans. Trim the edges of the pastry if need be so that the flan pastry base is neat.
Prepare the filling by zesting the lemon carefully on the finest part of the grater.
Cut the lemon in half and use the squeezer to collect the lemon juice.Separate the eggs putting the whites into a clean mixing bowl.
Slake (mix) the cornflour in half the water and bring the rest of the water to the boil. Add the cornflour and beat until a smooth sauce is formed. Beat in the egg yolks and the lemon zest and juice and 25g sugar. Stir until smooth and glossy. Pour into the pastry base and level out. Leave to stand.
Pour into the prepared tin.
Make the meringue:
Use clean whisks and check the eggs are in a wide mixing bowl. Whisk on full speed until the eggs are white and foamy. Whisk in 50g sugar until the egg white is glossy and stands in peaks. Fold in the remaining sugar. Pile into a piping bag and pipe the top with meringue. Alternately pile on the meringue with a spatula and create peaks with a knife all over the surface.
Bake at a low oven until crisp and golden or flash bake in hot oven for 3-4 minutes.
Homemade lemon meringue pie has a superb flavour and texture, unlike any bought product. It can be homely or haute cuisine depending on how much time and effort you spend preparing it.
Cooks Know How: Lemon meringue pie is made in three different sections and is a skilful dish to prepare. Firstly the pastry is made using the rubbing-in method. It is short pastry and because it used two types of fat, yellow and white, the pastry texture is crumbly. Baking the pastry blind ensures it is crisp and baked before the filling is put in.
The filling is a thick lemon sauce made by the blending method. The cornflour starch gelatinises during the cooking process to make a thick sauce. Lemon juice being acid helps to create a glossy sauce. The sugar sweetens it and the yolks enrich the colour and nutrients.The sauce filling sets when it is cold, know as gelation, and becomes a firm layer to support the meringue.
Making meringue relies on you having fresh eggs and clean utensils. The whites need to be whisked rapidly to incorporate air. The protein in the egg whites unravels and stretches as the air is trapped in the bubbles. The foam becomes white and stiff as the protein is stretched. Sugar is added to stabilise the foam and this also makes the meringue glossy with firm peaks. Fold in the remaining sugar and your meringue is ready to pile on the filled pie base. Meringue will brown in the oven as the sugar caramelises.
Lemon meringue can be Lemon Mousse Pie by simply folding the meringue into the lemon filling and although this is just a name change it does alter the characteristics of the pie. Of course you could use lemon and lime fruits for extra tang.