Ultimate lemon meringue pie

Ultimate lemon meringue pie

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(187 ratings)

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

Easy

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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Ingredients

    For the pastry

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

      Butter

      butt-err

      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
      Lemon

      Lemon

      le-mon

      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
      Orange

      Orange

      or-ange

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

    • 85g butter, cut into pieces
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

      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

    Method

    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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    katmam
    14th May, 2017
    Pastry was spot on. My lemon filling was a bit runny. Having read all the comments below, I'll cook it longer to thicken it next time, or add a little more cornflour? Golden caster sugar seemed to work, but I think I'll go for white next time. Anyway, it was delicious!
    rosaalbamacdonald
    8th Apr, 2017
    3.8
    I have made this three times - it is a palaver, produces lots of washing up and takes the best part of an afternoon (even using pastry from previously frozen batch). This time I used the pastry as per the recipe which I found difficult to work with and over crumbly - it did not bake as crisp as I like (and the leftover in jam tarts crumbled badly when removed from tin). Love the filling mix. I do not bother with the cornflour in the meringue bit but add cream of tartar - also do not golden caster (at all) as my experience with certain supermarket brands is that it is refined white with the molasses added back which affects the setting point/ruins attempts at jam. It works well w. white caster. HOWEVER if a young helper mistakenly uses brown sugar/muscovado before you can intervene, it does not work well at all. NB the instructions to whisk in the sugar are unhelpful for the younger helper at least and result in over-beaten egg white-sugar mix, and a need to start again (over-beaten mix had yolks, flour, butter, lime &coconut added to make a passable lime and coconut loaf cake). A Helpful Tip: use a larger and a smaller ice cream scoop to put the meringue mix on the top (large scoops then fill in spaces with small scoops). And considerably less messy in end product and process. I did not bother to reheat the pie filling as it was still fairly hot (kept in a cast iron pot with lid till required).
    MarianneH
    17th Feb, 2017
    5.05
    Excellent recipe! I was more generous with the cornflour for the filling- adding 2 Heaped tablespoons instead of level. I also used a biscuit base and, as recommended by other reviews- only one tsp cornflour in the meringue. Highly recommend this recipe.
    janiem
    29th Jan, 2017
    3.8
    I haven't made lemon meringue pie for years, it used to be a family favourite. I didn't have my old recipe so tried this one, it worked well and looked impressive. Everyone had seconds but I found the filling too sweet, I probably should have used 3 lemons and / or less sugar to give it a better contrast with the meringue. Not sure why the filling needs to be warmed through again before putting the meringue on top, surely better to put it in the case and let it cool and firm up while you whisk the meringue. Also I bought pastry to use as I now rarely make my own.
    hvlloyd
    12th Nov, 2016
    I've made this a couple of times and it is a firm favourite-lovely tangy lemon, delicious!
    277067
    17th Jun, 2016
    5.05
    Used 3 large lemons, followed recipe exact which produced an amazing looking and tasting dish. Definitely will make this again. I usually struggle with pastry making but his was perfect.
    meanie303
    4th Apr, 2016
    3.8
    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
    20th Mar, 2016
    2.55
    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
    20th Feb, 2016
    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
    15th Feb, 2016
    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.

    Pages

    K123
    4th Sep, 2016
    I'm gluten free, can you recommend how to alter the pastry recipe ?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    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.
    geneticcrazybaker's picture
    geneticcrazybaker
    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?
    cheflulu
    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
    goodfoodteam
    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.
    erthro
    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.
    roullours
    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!
    Prettyballerina
    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 : )