Ultimate lemon meringue pie on a cake stand

Ultimate lemon meringue pie

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(240 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 yolks and a 1 whole egg

    For the meringue

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


    1. For the pastry, put 175g plain flour, 100g cold butter, cut into small pieces, 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor.

    2. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind.

    3. 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.

    4. 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).

    5. 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.

    6. Set aside. Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead. Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

    7. While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix 2 level tbsp cornflour, 100g golden caster sugar and finely grated zest of 2 large lemons in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in 125ml lemon juice gradually.

    8. Make the juice of 1 small orange up to 200ml with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. 

    9. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in 85g butter until melted. Beat 3 egg yolks (save white for meringue) and 1 whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat.

    10. 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. 

    11. Put 4 egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add 100g of the golden caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating.

    12. Whisk in 2 level tsp cornflour, then add the remaining 100g of the golden caster sugar as before until smooth and thick. 

    13. 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).

    14. 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.

    15. 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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    1st Sep, 2019
    This is my favourite lemon meringue pie recipe. While our lemon bushes are fruiting (we live near Auckland New Zealand where it's warm enough to grow citrus), I make one each weekend. I do reduce the sugar in the filling by half to get a really teagy lemon flavour.
    18th Jul, 2019
    Can this be frozen ?
    Marc Pullen's picture
    Marc Pullen
    5th Jul, 2019
    Works fantastic everytime - I've even switched out the lemons and made a lime one - it is the simplest recipe and not difficult to make - anyone who thinks this is difficult probably could not boil and egg it's that easy - delicious everytime
    Fergal Cotter's picture
    Fergal Cotter
    20th Apr, 2019
    Wouldn't class this as an"easy" recipe.
    J54321's picture
    9th Mar, 2019
    Nicest dessert I’ve ever made. I actually forgot the egg yolk in the pastry but it turned out great. I think my tin was slightly too big cause the pastry I think could have been a little thicker but wow I will be making again.
    28th Feb, 2019
    This pie is a faff to make but it is by far the best pudding ever! So worth the effort. I've made it quite a lot of times and it's never failed. So yummy and everyone loves it.
    24th Feb, 2019
    It took me a while and I made a mess. I added a bit of vanilla essence to my meringue, simply because I always do. I added an extra teaspoon of conrnflour to the lemon mixture, to thicken it just a bit more. My tin was slightly to big so the pastry a bit thin, (but delicious). It turned out really well. I took it to a dinner party and everyone loved it, and there wasn’t a crumb left!
    Clare Horwood's picture
    Clare Horwood
    27th Oct, 2018
    I’ve never made a lemon meringue or pastry before and I had no problems what so ever with this recipe. Not sure what all the problems are for everyone else, but didn’t take long at all and I mixed by hand. My kids made the filling, again no problems. This is a great recipe. Thanks
    LANI's picture
    3rd Oct, 2018
    It took me at least 3 hours to make the pastry. The mixture was hard to work with and too crumbly, I struggled to lay it in the tin and ended up pressing it with my hands. The bottom of the pastry cracked, therefore, I recommend adding another layer. Or using a different recipe or storebought pastry. Although it was very difficult to work with it turned out well and tasted nice. The filling took too long to thicken, 2 tsp is not enough. Recommend adding way more to speed up the process. Other than that it turned out well and was the pie was very delicious.
    Clare Horwood's picture
    Clare Horwood
    27th Oct, 2018
    The filling is 2tbsp of cornflour, not 2tsp. Maybe that’s why yours didn’t thicken


    Niamh Hull's picture
    Niamh Hull
    2nd Jul, 2019
    Can the lemon curb be stored and re-heated another time?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    2nd Jul, 2019
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you can make the filling up to two days in advance. Store in the fridge and reheat. If you're looking for a lemon curd recipe, you'll find one here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/lemon-curd
    4th Sep, 2016
    I'm gluten free, can you recommend how to alter the pastry recipe ?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    8th Sep, 2016
    Thanks for your question. We have not tested a gluten-free version of this recipe so cannot give you a specific swap but we do have a number of gluten-free bakes, which may help if you'd like to give it go. Hope that helps.
    Carol C's picture
    Carol C
    29th Dec, 2015
    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.
    Marc Pullen's picture
    Marc Pullen
    5th Jul, 2019
    Definitely a fault of the cook - measurements work fine every time - the meringue coming away from the side is because your filling wasn't hot enough when you put the meringue on top - make a circle of meringue on top of hot filling and push it to the crust then fill the middle, never had a floating island and made this over 20 times - and always comes out perfect with a knife.
    geneticcrazybaker's picture
    26th Oct, 2015
    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?
    21st Feb, 2015
    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
    2nd Mar, 2015
    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.
    30th Aug, 2013
    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.


    Elliot Hodges's picture
    Elliot Hodges
    27th Mar, 2018
    4th Oct, 2016
    Many tears ago I had the Readers Digest 'The Cookery Year', which instructed us to sprinkle the meringue with caster sugar before returning to the oven to cook the meringue. The crispness is amazing. Try it!
    2nd Mar, 2014
    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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