This post is the last in my four Great Comic Relief Bake Off challenges. So far I have posted Chocolate Eclairs, Bakewell Tart, and Custard Slices. The final challenge, from the final episode of the mini series is Mary Berry's Lemon Meringue Pie. For the reasons below, I have chosen to make these in miniature.
The thought of Lemon Meringue Pie always brings a wry smile to my lips, as I remember a story my Mum has told often. When I was around three years old, my younger brother was Christened. My Mum laid on a feast for the friends and family that came, and the centrepiece was not one but three beautiful Lemon Meringue Pies. Imagine her disappointment when, after the Christening, she found three Lemon Tarts on the table, covered in tiny three-year-old fingerprints and some-what devoid of meringue! Needless to say I was a little ill that evening!
|Individual Lemon Meringue Pies|
It wasn't enough however to lose my appetite for this dessert, and I have been looking forward to attempting the Mary Berry recipe. Gary on the other hand openly voiced that he wasn't a fan of lemon desserts, so I decided to half the recipe, and make a few individual pies that I could ration out to myself and others, rather than a large pie that would be wasted.
Our little Lemon Meringue pies were lovely, and I have to say Gary had just about finished his by the time I had paused to photograph mine for this post! He said it was the nicest he had eaten, and would definitely have another, which was the highest of praise from someone who doesn't normally like them.
This is the full recipe from the BBC Food website - I have tried to photograph the stages, however remember that the recipe is for one large pie dish, not the little muffin tin I used. I also missed a few photographs as didn't have enough hands at the crucial stages!
For the pastry
- For the lemon filling
6 lemons, zest and juice
250g/9oz caster sugar
6 free-range egg yolks
- For the meringue topping
4 free-range egg whites
225g/8oz caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- First make the pastry. Measure the flour and butter into a food processor and blend together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until combined to a ball.
- Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin. Be careful not to stretch the pastry as you tuck it into the corners. Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.
- Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes
- Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3½.
- For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 450ml/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 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.
- For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
- Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. Then create a swirl on the top of the meringue.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.
- Serve warm or cold