This miserable rainy weather we’ve been having calls for some sunny desserts to be had. And since I had a bundle of sunny yellow lemons to use up, I decided to make some little lemon meringue pies to brighten up the cloudy rainy days.
I’m not usually a fan of sour desserts but lemon meringue pies are the perfect combination with a balance between the tangy and sweet. My perfect lemon meringue pie has a buttery, short pastry with a sour lemon curd and a sweet, fluffy meringue to offset the tartness and this one ticks all the boxes.
The lemon curd and pastry can be made ahead of time but make sure the meringue is made at the last minute to keep it nice and light. To get the lovely golden brown colours on the meringue, grab your trusty blowtorch and burn baby burrrn! Yes, I’ll make any excuse to play with fire hehe but if you don’t have a blowtorch at home, put your pies under a hot grill for a minute or two and that will do the trick as well.
And as a nerdy side note: today is also Pi Approximation Day! What better way to celebrate than with a slice of pie or two? hehehe
Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics 2
Makes 6 small pies or 1 large pie
For the sweet shortcrust pastry:
2 cups (300g) plain flour
150g cold butter, diced
3 tbsp (45g) caster sugar
2-3 tbsp ice water
For the lemon curd:
3 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup (125ml) water
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
3 egg yolks
60g butter, chopped
For the meringue:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar
1. Place cornflour and water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Place cornflour mixture, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon rind in a saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated, then whisk in the butter a cube at a time, until the lemon curd is thick and glossy. Set aside to cool completely.
2. To make the pastry, process the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water until the dough starts to cling together. Knead lightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Roll out the dough until it is large enough to fit your tart tin(s). Line the tin(s) with the pastry, cutting off the excess and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Cover the top of the pastry with baking paper and fill with weights or uncooked rice. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the baking paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the crust is golden. Place on a wire rack to cool.
4. When the pastry is cool, spoon the cooled lemon curd into the pastry shells and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to set.
5. Just before serving, make the meringue by beating the egg whites with an electric mixer to soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy with stiff peaks. Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the lemon curd and use a blowtorch to brown the meringue. Alternatively, place the pies under a preheated grill for 1-2 minutes until the meringue is golden.