Introduction: Lemon Meringue Pie
In this Instructable I am going to describe how to make a lemon and meringue pie. I must confess it is not the quickest recipe in the world, but it is definitely worth it. A great compromise between the lengthy process and the amazing and delicious result.
So, let's get started!
Step 1: Grab the Ingredients
All the ingredients you need are shown in the photo attached.
We can think to this recipe as composed of three different parts: the shortcrust, the lemon curd filling and the meringue. I have listed below all the ingredients you will need in each step, to make it easier to follow step by step.
For the shortcrust base you will need:
- 180 g plain flour
- 65 g icing sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter
- egg yolks from 3 eggs
For the lemon curd filling:
- 4 lemons
- 2 whole eggs
- egg yolks from 3 eggs
- 75 g granulated sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter
For the meringues:
- 150 g granulated sugar
- egg whites from 3 eggs
- 50 ml water
As you might have noticed, this pie is made out of only five ingredients!
Make sure the eggs are SUPER fresh and the butter is at room temperature, so to make it easier to use and blend.
Step 2: Grab the Tools
Apart from the standard kitchen equipment, such as bowls, saucepan and spatula, make sure you also have at hand:
- stick blender
- piping bag
- food thermometer (I used two, but one is enough)
- baking paper
The beans will not be used as ingredients for this pie, but as weights, to avoid the tart to rise when baking. Some rice will also di the job or if you have ceramic beans even better!
Step 3: Make the Shortcrust Base
The first step consists of making the base, which is nothing more than a simple shortcrust pastry.
Take a big bowl and combine the flour, diced butter, sugar and rub everything with your hands.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, paying attention not to contaminate the two. For this I always use two glasses or bowls: I crack the eggs, catching the yolk while letting the egg white drip in the vessel.
Set the egg whites aside, you will need them later. Pour the egg in the bowl containing the mix of flour, sugar and butter.
Using your hands start mixing everything together: you will see that some crumbs start to appear. Continue to mix until you reach a non-sticky dough and all the small chunks are gone.
Combine the dough into a ball, wrap it into a sheet of cling film and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
If you prefer and are short of time, you can do this step in advance and let the dough refrigerate overnight. You could also freeze it up to a max of one month. Just remember to take it out from the fridge or freezer in advance before use.
Step 4: Shape the Shortcrust Base
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
After the cooling time has passed, take the shortcrust ball out of the fridge and remove the cling film.
Dust a chopping board with some flour and use a rolling pin to roll the pastry about 3 mm thick.
Take a round oven-proof tin and grease it with some butter. Dust it with flour then and remove the excess. In this way the pastry will not stick while baking.
Ease the pastry into the tin, pressing into the edges and use a fork to poke some small holes all over the bottom of the shortcrust.
Take one sheet of baking paper and place it over the shortcrust base. Cover it with beans and bake it for 15 mins.
After that time, take the pastry out from the oven, remove the beans and baking paper and leave it to cool, you will need this base shortly!
Step 5: The Lemon Curd - Get Ready
The second step consists in making the lemon cream. First off you need to prepare the ingredients.
Start with the lemons and squeeze them so to end up with 125 ml lemon juice.
Crack two eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them using a fork.
Using the same method described before, separate three egg yolks from the egg whites. In this step you will only need the yolks. Weight the sugar and dice the butter.
Step 6: The Lemon Curd - Almost There
Transfer the lemon juice into a saucepan over the hob at a medium heat and add the egg yolks and the two lightly beaten eggs. Add the sugar and start cooking the mix bringing it to a gentle boil. Stir frequently using a spatula. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes until you reach a creamy consistency, like the one shown in the last attached picture.
Step 7: The Lemon Curd - Ready to Use!
Remove the saucepan from the hob and leave it to cool.
Now it is the time to use the thermometer: measure the temperature of the lemon cream. When the cream gets cooler and reaches 30° C, add some butter cubes to it and blend them using a stick blender, cube after cube.
The final result is a smooth, velvety and rich cream which is very difficult to resit to, but you have to for the time being (okay, maybe you can have a go licking that dirt spoon)!
Set aside and get ready for the final step.
Step 8: The Meringue
In the final step you are going to make the meringue, which will be the top layer in the lemon and meringue pie.
Start by weighting the sugar and by taking the egg whites from those three eggs you have cracked in a previous step. Measure 50 ml lukewarm water.
Take a saucepan and put the sugar and water in there. Transfer to the hob and bring it to boil. Using a thermometer, let it boil until the mix reaches 121 °C.
In the meantime pour the egg whites into a food processor (or a bowl) to whisk them. For this step a food processor would really help, because you can activate it before the sugar syrup reaches the 121 °C target temperature (let's say around 110 °C).
While the egg whites are whisking, remove the saucepan from the hob and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl. Keep whisking until you reach a fluffy creamy consistency, not too liquid, but not too hard. It should remind you of whipped cream.
The meringue is ready!
Step 9: Assemble the Pie
You are almost there! Now it is the time to combine what you have done in the previous phases.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Pour the lemon cream over the shortcrust base and spread it evenly using a spatula.
Attach a star shaped nozzle to the piping bag and fill it with the meringue. There is a trick to do it easily: just place the empty bag into a tall glass and fold the edges of the bag downwards. Then fill it three quarters using a spatula.
Cover the pie with the meringue, creating a sort of meringue flakes by squeezing the bag and pulling it up and away to give it the shape of a topknot.
Bake the pie in the oven for 10 mins or until the tips of the meringue are golden brown. Pay particular attention to this step, the meringue can get burned quickly.
Step 10: Enjoy!
Remove the lemon and meringue pie from the oven, let it cool at room temperature first and then in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Store the lemon and meringue pie in the fridge after eating.
Enjoy and eat within 2 or 3 days (I know that the pie is not going to last that long, but... best safe than sorry, you know :) ).
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