A few weeks ago Tim and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary with a lovely meal out in Bristol. For dessert I order salted caramel truffles (naturally) and Tim ordered lemon meringue pie. We both said how yummy it was but not something you see on restaurant menus that often. Tim said I should make one for the blog (and then he could conveniently eat it as well). So here it is….or should I say here they are as I made some mini ones as well.
I looked at a few different recipes for lemon meringue pie and quite a lot of them seemed to take 3 or 4 hours to make and I didn’t have hours, it was the 6 Nations final. So I decided on a Mary Berry recipe that took 1.5 hours to prep and 30 mins in the oven. It was a lovely simple recipe to follow, perfect for beginners but tasty enough for the pros!
8oz plain flour
1¾oz icing sugar
1 large free-range egg, beaten
6 lemons, zest and juice
9oz caster sugar
6 free-range egg yolks
4 free-range egg whites
8oz caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Firstly, make the pastry. Whizz together the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until it comes together in a ball.
Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a about 3mm thick. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry and transfer it to line a 23cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes ( as I have learnt over the last few months, this is a really important step!).Once cooled,trim the excess pastry but be careful not to cut too close to the tin. I think I went a bit close and as you can see from the pics, its a bit short in places.Line the pastry case with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes.
As I am writing this up I have just realised I missed an important step … I forgot to remove the baking beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. My pastry was slightly under done and now I see why! So make sure you return to the oven for 5 minutes after removing the baking beans.
Reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees C.
For the lemon filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Mary said a smooth paste however mine was very runny still. I haven’t worked with cornflour before so not totally sure what it should look like but I would suggest adding a little more if its very runny.
Measure 16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case. I had loads of lemon filling left over, about half the mixture which I couldn’t fit into the pastry case. I am not sure if this is because my pastry shrunk or if I had very juicy lemons but either way I made use of it later ( keep reading…).
For the meringue, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form or until you can hold it above your head – risky but does mean you can trust they are whisked to perfection! Add the caster sugar a little at a time, whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
As I have said before, I am not a piper and piping the crosses on my hot cross buns was a first for me. But I really wanted to try piping the meringue as I thought it would look fab if I could do it. So I gave it a go and even though the peaks dipped a little I think it looks OK and definitely better than just spooning it on so if you can, give it a go.Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.
Now I had a lot of pastry, lemon filling and meringue left over ….. only one thing for it, mini lemon meringue pie 🙂 I used the exact same method as above I just used a biscuit cutter to cut the pastry cases and popped them in a bun tin with parchment paper and a few baking beans for initial blind bake. This was just a little experiment with some left over ingredients but they worked really well and I think the rugby final crowd preferred the little ones ( probably because you could eat one in 1 or 2 bites).
This was such a fun recipe to try and I LOVE the mini pies, I think they are so cute. If and when I do this again I would make sure I read the method a little more thoroughly and bake for a further 5 minutes after taking the beans out. I would also leave a little more excess pastry when trimming the edges of the case as mine did shrink and little and therefore I couldn’t fill the pie quite as much as I wanted. For a first attempt though I am pretty blinking happy.
As always, I would love to hear about your own attempts, has anyone else tried mini pies before?