Ultimate lemon meringue pie

Ultimate lemon meringue pie

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(181 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 45 mins Or 40-50 mins if baking the pastry a day ahead


Serves 6 - 8
You can't go wrong with one of Angela Nilsen's ultimates and this is no exception

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal480
  • fat24g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs64g
  • sugars41g
  • fibre1g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.53g
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For the pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling

  • 2 level tbsp cornflour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest 2 large lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
  • juice 1 small orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 85g butter, cut into pieces



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3 egg yolk and a 1 whole egg

For the meringue

  • 4 egg white, room temperature
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 level tsp cornflour


  1. For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. The pastry is quite rich, so don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight).

  2. Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.) Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

  3. While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

  4. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl. Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (223)

meanie303's picture

Really great lemon meringue.
I had an issue in that my pan is very heavy based and continues to heat things quite strongly even after I remove from the heat. As a result, when I added the eggs I felt I saw a little bit of cooked whites floating around (from the whole egg cooking) so I quickly whizzed with a hand whisk to smooth it out. After that I just couldn't get the mixture to thicken so I had to add another spoon of cornflour but then it set fine.

mysticalengineer's picture

Crust is to small a recipe. Unless you're making a small pie. Custard is much more mild than other recipes of this pie. With the addition of the eggs the lemon taste is almost obliterated. Meringue with cornstarch is not good. In order for it to cook properly with that much cornstarch the custard has to be piping hot. Still, you can taste the starch in the meringue and lose much of the loft normally attained by using cream of tartar. I wouldn't recommend this meringue and I'd double the crust. Or use a very small pie plate. For this reason I (generously gave it a three).

NatashaStr's picture

Good recipe. The pastry was easy to make; good consistency of the filling, though I would have preferred it to be a bit more "lemony", next time - more lemon, less water. Meringue was great, but I could taste the corn flour, again a little adjustment: 1 spoon of corn flour, not 2.

shortcouture's picture

I've made this several times now, it's so yummy that people demand it at parties. I don't use pastry, I make a biscuit base: 300g digestive biscuits & 150g butter. I also use 3 large lemons and a normal size orange - this gives extra zest and enough fruit juice so that no water is required. It's fantastically lemony which works so well with the buttery biscuit base and the fluffy meringue.

Nicslittlesister's picture

Brill! Just made a couple of changes - used my own sweet shortcrust pastry as I know it works for me (8oz used) and a smaller tin (20cm) to produce a lovely deep pie. I was delighted and will definitely make it again.

Barneys baking's picture

I find this recipe really hard to follow, it took me forever to make as I don't have a food
Processor so had to do everything by hand.
The lemon filling doesn't taste that nice, I think it's the butter that ruins it, I've used other recipes that doesn't require the butter and it tastes much nicer and lighter.
I love lemon meringue pie but I won't be making this recipe again, it's too rich for me.
Also, not convinced about using 'golden' caster sugar for the meringue, i prefer my meringue white rather than the golden beige colour it turns with this...

mysticalengineer's picture

Use white castor sugar instead. Also, one of the reasons the meringue does loft as well is the castor sugar is a small crystal and it's the crystals that cut the cells of the whites and aerates it.

Carol C's picture

Awful recipe the lemon filling is like soup and the pastry was far too dry. I used this recipe based on the good reviews.I just wasted a lot of expensive ingredients!

mysticalengineer's picture

Soupy custard just means you need to cook it longer to thicken. Dry crust means you over-handled it. You just need more practice.

YorkshireLassinIreland's picture

I decided on this recipe because of the high reviews and told my partner I was making him a big surprise. I followed the recipe to the letter. My first attempt was a bit of a disappointment. The meringue was flat, the pastry was so hard to work with and so delicate, and there was a puddle of sticky syrup on the serving plate after I made it. But it tasted so good! So, being a Yorkshire lass I didn't give up and yesterday attempted this again. Well, I hate to sound negative but, it was a disaster. 3 attempts at the pastry (I ended up adding water in the end and chilled in BEFORE rolling out) but it still failed to contain the lemon filling as it crumbled as soon as I removed it from the tin. Another sad looking meringue and it again leaked all that sugary syrup. What am I doing wrong? Im following to the letter. Don't get me wrong it tasts gorgeous, it just ends up looking horrible. All that work and washing up! And to top it off a kiss on the forehead and the comment " at least it tastes good love" from my fella as I present my lemon puddle makes me want to scream. Well done if it worked for you.

mysticalengineer's picture

Okay, you need to add more water at the dough stage; a teaspoon at a time, until when you gently squeeze it, it comes together. Form into a ball, wrap tightly in cellophane; flatten into a disk shape and chill. The meringue will be flat for a few reasons. But mostly importantly you really have to whip it until soft peaks form; anything less and nothing will bind. Then only add the sugar (not that blasted starch) until the end.

1825papercranes's picture

Agreed with the pastry -- I've had mixed success (other times the base was leaky and I'd gotten the same sticky syrup that you did)...I've heard that brushing the pastry base with egg white helps to seal it?
As for the meringue, how long did you whisk it for? For the meringue, I opted not to add cornflour, just whisked the egg whites with sugar and a bit of cream of tartar until stiff peaks formed and it turned out OK.

mysticalengineer's picture

Good for you. Two tablespoons of corn starch is the kiss of death. Or cheap tasting diner pie.You're right about the egg white wash; it does seal. But you have to add approximately two more tablespoons of water to get the pastry to bind. It depends on how much moisture the butter has in it as well. Salted or unsalted--that sort of thing.

chelseyv's picture

I never used to like lemon meringue pie, but this has converted me it's absolutely delicious! It does take a bit of time, but well worth it.. made it yesterday and the hubby and I have demolished over half of it already after him moaning at me since I made thelast one to make another one.. it's a bit like eating a cloud, it all just melts in the mouth in a lovely cloud of lemoness. Well, he's not back from work yet do you think he'd notice if I ate a bit more of it! 101% recommended :)

jackeeboi's picture

AMAZING!! i made this for the family one night 2 months ago and now every time i have a day off they beg me to make this again everybody loves this. I have to make one change and thats to the base because i have to make everything gluten free but it still tastes awesome. Would recommend this to anybody!

littlelight79's picture

Very tasty and pretty easy to make. Not having an electric whisk or food processor I did it all by hand. I think it turned out great and my husband and father in law agree! The only thing I changed was to add a bit of lemon extract to the curd to make it extra lemony :)'s picture


Snigs's picture

fantastic recipe. I am not an expert cook but even I got it right! the meringue was lovely and so was lemon curd. Only thing you need to bear in mind is that lemon curd takes a while to become thick, my arm got a bit tired whisking it for so long but I didn't want to stop for fear of curdling it.

Kids Can Cook 2's picture

this recipe is superb! its tangy, and sweet, all family members were very impressed! had to make this pie again because it was so good!


Questions (5)

Carol C's picture

Is the recipe correct?I made this today the pastry came out okish although very dry and crackly. I added a few extra drops of water to it prior to rolling, but the filling was far too thin the meringue came away from the sides after re-baking and looked like an island floating on the top of a lemon puddle. I am hoping it sets in the fridge else I will be using a spoon not a knife to serve it. I doubt I will be using this recipe again. I am a novice cook but I think its the fault of the recipe in this case not the cook.

geneticcrazybaker's picture

Can I use less sugar in my meringue? I don't want it to be too sweet. Will it affect the consistency of my meringue?

cheflulu's picture

Hi i tried this lemon meringue andt it was really good. I habe a problem when it comes to the pastry. it cracks alot so today i decided to buy the pastry ready. How much do you think i should buy pls?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi cheflulu, thanks for getting in touch. We haven't tested this recipe using ready made pastry so cannot guarantee perfect results but would suggest you use a 320g pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry. Let us know how you get on.

erthro's picture

Hi, it says you can pre-bake the pastry base, just wondering how to store it until you are going to use it? I'm doing the base today and the rest tomorrow, so need to store it overnight. Thanks.

Tips (1)

Prettyballerina's picture

This was my 1st try at this recipe and I added extra sugar to the lemon filling as the lemons were very tart.
For those who have problems with the meringue I follow the Delia meringue tips in her book 1 how to cook. Namely 2 mins at a low speed till just slightly frothy increasing to medium speed adding the sugar as stated in the recipe. The higher speed made the meringue just right. Took appx 5 mins all in. I baked this at 150 degrees for appx an hour for a more marshmallowy topping. It was delish : )

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