Next on my belated list of Great British Bake-off signature bakes is a classic lemon meringue pie.
Where I grew up, most restaurants (at least the kind my family ate in), had at least three types of pie on offer.
Apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, raisin, bumbleberry, saskatoon, rhubarb, pecan, peach… I’d happily order any of them, but if lemon meringue pie was on the menu, they wouldn’t get a look in.
After reviewing several recipes, I settled on this one from The Great British Book of Baking, which was published to accompany the first series of the Great British Bake-Off.
Sweet shortcrust pastry, a tangy lemon filling you could stand a fork in, and pillowy French meringue – it looked and tasted like the lemon meringue pie of my childhood. Works for me.
Lemon meringue pie
For the pastry:
- 175g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tb caster sugar
- 115g cold, unsalted butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 Tb water
For the filling:
- 3 medium lemons, juice and zest
- 40g cornflour
- 300ml boiling water
- 3 egg yolks
- 85g caster sugar
- 50g cold, unsalted butter, diced
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 200g caster sugar
- To make the pastry, sift together the flour, salt and caster sugar.
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Gently stir in the egg yolk mixture until it forms a ball, adding a bit more water if needed. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface and line a 22cm pie tin. Prick the base with a fork, then cover the lined tin with tinfoil and fill with baking beans.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for another five minutes, or until crisp and light gold in colour. Leave to cool and make the lemon filling.
- In a small pot, stir the lemon juice, lemon zest and cornflour to form a paste. Add the boiling water, stirring until smooth. Place the pot over a medium-low flame and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, followed by the sugar and butter.
- Pour the lemon filling into the pie shell and spread evenly.
- Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it forms a stiff meringue. Pile the meringue on top of the lemon filling.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool in the tin, then serve at room temperature.