A Taste of Home is a food story from Ballyknocken House, nestled in the gentle rolling hills of County Wicklow, where generations of Catherine Fulvio’s family have lived and farmed for over 100 years. This Lemon Meringue Pie is a serious crowd pleaser.
My mother was most definitely the queen of lemon meringue pie, to the point where we as children became quite the connoisseurs, recognising the good, the bad and the ugly of this wonderful dessert. I like my lemon meringue filling to be fairly sharp, as a contrast to the soft marshmallow topping, and you can’t go wrong with serving lemon meringue to a crowd.
For the pastry
melted butter, for brushing
200g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
2 tbsp ground almonds
150g chilled butter, roughly diced
1 free-range egg yolk
1 to 2 tbsp cold water
egg wash, to glaze
For the filling
5 free-range egg yolks
250g caster sugar
5 lemons, zest of 2 and juice of 5
3 tbsp cornflour
For the meringue topping
5 free-range egg whites
250g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
Brush a deep loose-based 23cm flan tin with some melted butter. Dust with a little flour.
To make the pastry, place the flour, ground almonds and butter into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Pour in the egg yolk and pulse to form a soft pastry dough. Add a little cold water if needed. Roll the pastry out between 2 pieces of clingfilm and then peel off the top piece. Turn over and carefully line the dusted flan tin with the pastry. Peel off the other piece of clingfilm. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 4. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pastry and pour in baking beans. Bake for about 20 minutes and then remove the baking beans and parchment paper. Brush the pastry with egg wash and bake again for about 10 minutes until golden. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Whisking all the time, add the butter, then pour in the lemon zest and juice. Whisk in the cornflour and simmer until a thick sauce/filling develops. It is best to keeping whisking while the filling is thickening. Set aside.
To make the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites to soft-peak stage. Gradually add the sugar until a thick meringue develops. Fold in the cornflour.
Pour the lemon filling into the baked pastry case and spoon or pipe the meringue topping over, starting from the outer edge and working to the centre, ensuring that you make peaks. Transfer to the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and brown. Cool on a rack then serve with a delicious farmhouse vanilla ice cream.
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