Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lemon Meringue Goodness

             The new year has come and gone I've steadfastly refused to make any New Years resolutions especially ones that involve food which is why I have NO guilt what so ever about posting up this rich and heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie.  Make it, love it and share it.  If you don't want to make your own pastry don't but I have to say that this sweet paste is easy to make and as long as you don't fuss (and let it get warm) it is easy to handle.  Try rolling it out on a piece of no-stick paper or silicon mat so that if it does begin to get too warm you can easily put it back into the fridge for five minutes.  The following recipe will be more than enough to line your tin freeze extra for use another time or double the recipe for the express purpose of having it there for when you need a quick easy sweet.  I'll be posting a couple of other uses for this pastry soon.... so watch this space.

Sweet Paste

250grams butter (cold diced)
150grams icing sugar
4 egg yolks lightly beaten
500 grams plain flour
salt pinch
lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor blend butter, flour and icing sugar together until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
(Or by hand if you like my preference is to use the food processor as the heat in your hands is the pastry's enemy)  Add the beaten eggs, zest and vanilla and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.  Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball.  Flatten the pastry and wrap in cling-film refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out this allows the gluten's in the pastry to relax and will result in less shrinkage. 

For the pie shell roll out to roughly 3mm thick line a 26cm flan (or whatever size your using if your using a smaller size your flan will need to be deeper to accommodate the amount of filling).  Allow the pastry to rest again in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Prick the pastry base with a fork.  Line with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans (rice or lentils work as well the idea is for the beans to hold up the sides and weigh down the base)  Bake in a pre-heated  (200c)  oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until pastry is golden.

Lemon Meringue Pie

6 lemons juice and rind
40 grams butter
100 grams sugar (castor is better as it dissolves faster than regular but it's not essential)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk 400g
40 grams cornflour
4 eggs (large)

26cm pie crust
4 egg whites
200 grams sugar (see above note)

For the filling bring to the boil lemon juice and zest with the first measure of sugar and the butter.  Whisk eggs, the condensed milk and the cornflour together.  Pour over the boiling juices and whisk.  Return to the stove an bring back to the boil stirring constantly until thick.  Cool slightly before pouring into pastry case.

Warm the second measure of sugar in the microwave or oven.  Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form slowly beat in the sugar a little at a time beat continuously for 10 minutes until firm and shiny.  (who needs a gym work out)  (For successful meringue you need to remember to keep it clean a little grease or egg yolk and your egg whites won't beat up)

Top the pie with meringue and return to oven until meringue is lightly coloured (or use a blowtorch!)
Refrigerate before cutting.

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