Who can resist a lemon meringue pie?
It's one of those things that is less of a faff than I think it is, and I wonder why I don't make one more often. This time I wanted one that would just serve four of us for pudding with a bit left over. (Without resorting to a Green's packet mix!) We were having visitors who were rumoured to be fussy eaters and I had sought reassurance that this pudding would go down well. Luckily, as it turned out, my informant was correct - the main course was not so well received but the lemon meringue was a hit. Phew! Ending on a low point is never a happy outcome to any dinner party!
There are zillions of recipes for lemon meringue pie out there. I must have a couple of dozen amongst my vast collection of cookery books. This time I chose one from Mary Berry's book "Classic", mainly because it looked like it would be the right size. In the past I have used another recipe of hers on the BBC Food website which is more voluminous and feeds a lot more people.
This one was just the job and very easy to make (it could be easier still if you were to use shop bought ready made pastry). It turned out to be very lemony, with a lovely meringue topping - crisp on the outside and marshmallowy inside, and just the right size for six people - four of us on the day with two portions left over for the next day.
For the pastry
175g plain flour
75g cold butter, cubed
2 tblsp icing sugar
1 egg, beaten
For the filling
2 lemons, juice and finely grated zest
75g caster sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
For the meringue topping
4 egg whites
125g caster sugar
Make the pastry in the usual way (I made mine in a food processor), roll out and line a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6. Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and blind bake for 15 mins. Remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 mins.
Reduce the oven temp to 150°C / 130° fan / gas mk 2.
Make the filling by mixing the lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan with the cornflour and 300ml water. Whisk until smooth and heat gently over medium heat until thickened. Add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk again until well blended. Pour into the tart case and level the top.
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon mixture, starting at the outside edge and working your way in so that it seals to the pastry shell. Pile it all in and swirl the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until pale gold and crisp.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 15-30 minutes. Then remove from the tin and serve warm or cold.
Serves 6 generous slices.