From my last two posts, you'd swear it was a citrus kind of week, but actually, I made this lemon meringue pie during the September holidays at my Mum's place, and haven't had a chance to post about it yet (ummm, primarily because I didn't have the recipe).
Now, I know that recipes for lemon meringue pies are a dime a dozen, but I thought this one was worth posting because it so easy to make, doesn't use that many ingredients, and the filling doesn't weep (at least, mine didn't), and isn't rubbery. I love lemon meringue pie, but the commercial versions in coffee shops are often very tall, sweet and over-bearing. This home-made version cannot be accused of any of these things, with a nice balance between the meringue and the lemon filling. The pie crust is an easy biscuit dough.
The recipe comes from my old high school home economics cookbook called Day to Day Cookery by L M Downes, which is battered, yellowed and falling apart. While a version of this book is still available today, it is really nothing like the old version. The newer version is a full colour A4 sized job, with fewer recipes, while the old one is a tiny A5(?) size, packed with recipes and with no pictures, and resembles a paperback novel in appearance. It is also one of those old fashioned books that assumes you know something about cooking, so it doesn't hold your hand through every step in the instructions. This in some ways is part of its charms, and probably why my Mum adopted it - it lives at her house.
To make this pie, you will need:
60g margarine (I just used 120g margarine as my Mum doesn't buy butter)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups self raising flour (whatever it takes to get the right consistency)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups water
4-5 tablespoons cornflour
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Sift the dry ingredients together, and add alternately to the mixture with the milk to make a stiff paste.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out to ~1/4 inch thickness, and use it to line a greased 23cm pie dish. Bake the crust in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius until it turns golden brown (see, no details like times here!), and remove from the oven to cool.
Blend the cornflour with the water, and add the egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Stir the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, then continue to cook it, stirring all the while, for around 2 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool a little before spooning it into the cooked pie crust.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually beat in all of the sugar until it dissolves. Pile the meringue on top of the pie, then place it in a pre-heated slow (~150 degrees Celsius) oven until the meringue is browned (~10 minutes).
Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Unfortunately, no-one at "home" appreciates home-made desserts, and I ended up eating about half of this myself, and most of the rest was thrown out. It tasted delicious - it is just a weird quirk of my family that, because we grew up with home-made baked goods and my Mum has been baking since she was a child, such things are not regarded as anything to get excited about.
If you try this out, I hope you like it!