When I was little my mother tells me I used to call this Lemon Prang – true! I told my father that I was going to write up a Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe he could not see the need; saying ‘You just go in the kitchen and put it together… at least that is what your mother does!’
My mother rolled her eyes and confirmed his line of thought, ‘Your father puts clothing in the wash box and as far as he is concerned they wash themselves, iron themselves and hang themselves back up in his wardrobe!’
So then we asked him how he would start to make a Lemon Meringue Pie he said he would start off with some apples… Oh I give up. So no chef de parte, but at least he is appreciative when I make things for him! This recipe is another one taken from Mary Berry’s latest book, having followed her directions to the letter I have noted below where I would make changes next time I make this – Mary I hope you don’t mind?
To make my Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe You Will Need
- 60g Butter
- 25g Demerara Sugar (optional)
- 175g Crushed Digestive Biscuits
Start off by making the base. Put the biscuits into a plastic bag and then using a rolling pin take your frustrations out on the bag and bash the biscuits into a crumb. You can go all the way to a fine powder or if you prefer leave a variety of different size crumbs to give added texture. Pop the base in the fridge to firm up.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, tip in the biscuit crumbs and sugar – then mix thoroughly.
Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of a 23cm pie dish.
Recipe Alterations:- Marry Berry uses 75g of melted butter – but I found this added too much richness so I have reduced the melted butter to 60g. Mary also adds 25g Demerara Sugar to the base and I’m going to omit the sugar next time.
- 1x3997g Tin Full Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 3 Egg Yolks
- Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons
For the filling it is important that your condensed milk is full fat – reduced fat versions will not set.
To separate your eggs – Mary recommends that you do this single egg at a time. Use a spotlessly clean bowl and separate the white from the yoke. Pour the white into your mixing bowl (for the topping – more on that later) – then repeat egg by egg. By doing this we are making sure that if one yoke breaks we do not ruin all the egg whites.
Zest your lemons and then juice them. I am using very large, wonderfully juicy Sicilian lemons (only available for a short time). In retrospect this was a mistake as they were so juicy that they added too much fluid to the mix, plus they are not as sour as other lemons.
Mix the juice, zest, egg yokes and condensed milk together. The acid in the lemons will make the mix go stiff initially and then it will become more fluid – this is normal. Pour the mix into the base and refrigerate. You can do this part in advance and leave it in the fridge. The final step is best timed about an hour before you want to serve.
- 3 Egg Whites
- 175g Golden Caster Sugar
For those of you who are new to baking the idea of making meringue can strike fear deep into your timid hearts. But fear not. It’s only a bit of egg white and with the odd tip you can have foolproof results every time. The enemy is fat, grease or oil – the tiniest smidgen of it will leave your egg whites flatter than a pancake. So as described above when you separate the eggs from the yolk do this into separate bowls – the yolk is full of oil, that way if you bust a yolk you will only ruin one egg white. If you wash your beaters and bowls in the dishwasher you should be ready to go… AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT TOUCH THE BEATERS OR THE INSIDE OF THE BOWL WITH YOUR FINGERS. Just the natural oil from your fingers can spoil the egg whites.
Whisk the egg whites until they form white fluffy clouds, (it’s best not to over whip them if the mixture start to look a little dry you are going too far), then tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar. Ensure that each spoon of sugar is mixed in before adding more. You will end up with a glossy stiff white fluffy mix. The classic test is to hold the bowl upside-down over your head, if you end up with and egg-white-wig then it wasn’t whisked enough.
You can pipe the meringue onto the set filling and base, this gives a professional finish. Personally I like the idea that it looks as it I made this at home for you – so I’m not piping.
Spoon large dollops onto the surface of the filling then gently spread the dollops out to form an evenish layer. Then go over the surface with a fork and pull up little spikes – as this cooks these will go brown and give a chewy texture.
Cook for 15-20 mins in a 190C/170C fan/gas 5, you know it is cooked when the top is a delicate golden brown – keep an eye on it, if the meringue ‘catches’ the burnt bits will be bitter.
Tempting as it is the finished pie needs to be left to cool a bit – ideally serve whilst it is warm. It will keep in the fridge for a few days, however in my house this kind of thing does not make it as far ast the fridge!