This lemon meringue pie is my partner’s favorite. The lemon curd is tarter than most, which is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the Italian meringue. The lemon curd is simple, and the effort to get the Italian meringue right will pay off when you take your first bite. Plus, you finally get to put your blow torch to use!

This recipe comes from a French pastry training course, but I prefer my standard shortcrust pastry so I’ve explained that below. My version is more flavourful because I’ve added lemon zest and vanilla.

Lemon Meringue Pie
 
Ingredients
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
  • 140 g butter
  • 90 g icing sugar
  • The zest of a lemon
  • 40 g powdered almonds
  • ½ a vanilla pod
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 230 g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
Lemon curd:
  • 150 g lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
  • 100 g butter
  • 150 g sugar
  • 180 g eggs (about 4-5 eggs)
  • 10 g cornstarch (Maizena)
Italian meringue:
  • 100 g egg whites
  • 200 g sugar
  • 70 g water
Instructions
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar until soft and creamy.
  2. Add the lemon zest and vanilla grains, mix and then add the powdered almonds. Mix well.
  3. Add the egg and the egg yolk and mix. Then add the flour and salt in 3 batches, mixing very briefly after each. Mix only until just combined.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly crush the dough slightly using your palm. They aim here is to make sure that all the ingredients are properly combined. This should only be done 2-3 times in order to not overwork the dough.
  5. Cover with cling film and let rest for at least 3h (ideally a night) before use.
  6. Press the sweet shortcrust pastry into a form, cover it with a sheet of baking paper, and fill with dried beans, rice, or ceramic beads. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes, remove the beans and cook for about 5 minutes more until golden.
Lemon curd
  1. Use the same methodology as for a creme patissière: heat up the butter and lemon juice until the butter is fully melted. Take it off the heat as soon as the butter melts.
  2. In the meantime, beat the eggs with the sugar with a whisk until they have whitened. Add the cornstarch and mix until combined.
  3. Pour the butter/lemon over the egg mix, mixing continuously. Pour everything back into the pan and bring to the boil until the mix thickens. It's really important at this stage to keep mixing the lemon curd or it will get lumpy.
  4. A trick I've picked up is to blend the mix once it has thickened. It makes the lemon curd so much smoother and creamier!
  5. Let cool for 10 min, then pour into the pie shell. Refrigerate until the lemon curd has solidified (while you make the meringue should be long enough). You can stop here and store this overnight in the refrigerator and make the meringue the next day.
Italian meringue
  1. Pour the water and sugar into a pan. Heat until the syrup reaches 114 °C. At this point, start mixing the egg whites in your mixer with the whisk attachment. Do not beat the egg whites at a high speed or they will become grainy. Beating them at a high speed makes the egg structure very unstable which ultimately makes it collapse and makes the mix grainy. Not good!
  2. Pour the syrup over the stiff egg whites once it reaches 120°C without stopping the mixer. Continue to mix until the eggs have cooled down (about 10min).
  3. Pipe the meringue onto the lemon curd and burn the top with a blow torch or oven grill until it is golden.

Lemon meringue pie

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