Recipe: The French Cafe’s Lemon Meringue Pie
Is your lemon tree covered in fruit ripe for the picking? Why not try this very special Lemon Meringue Pie, from Simon Wright of The French Café.
Recipe: Simon Wright
225 g plain flour
pinch of salt
60 g caster sugar
150 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
25 ml cold water
4 Digestive biscuits, crushed
zest of 6 lemons
375 ml lemon juice
150 ml water
60 g cornflour
450 g caster sugar
9 egg yolks
75 g butter
200 g sugar
100 ml water
4 egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
30 ml lemon juice
For the pastry:
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse together to mix. Add the butter and pulse until fully incorporated and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and the water, process until the mixture starts to come together and then tip the dough onto a clean work surface and gently knead together. Flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Lightly butter and flour a 23 cm x 4 cm pie dish with a removable base. Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and allow it to soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Place half of the crushed biscuits on a clean work surface, place the pastry on top of the biscuits and roll the pastry out to about 3 cm thick. Sprinkle with the remaining biscuit crumbs and gently press them into the pastry with your rolling pin.
Line your prepared pie tin with the pastry. Roll your rolling pin across the top of the tin to remove excess pastry, then use your thumb and forefinger to crimp around the top of the pie tin so the pastry comes up above the edge. This will allow for a little shrinkage during cooking. Place the prepared pie tin back in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Line the pie tin with baking paper and baking beans and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another 12 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and allow the pastry to cool.
For the lemon filling:
Place the lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a heavy-based saucepan and whisk in the cornflour until the mixture is smooth. Add the sugar and egg yolks and stir until fully incorporated.
Place over a medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture is warm, then add the butter and continue to stir until the mixture starts to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat, pour the lemon filling into your prepared pie case and allow to cool fully at room temperature.
For the meringue:
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream of tartar and start whisking the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Once the sugar syrup reaches 120ºC, remove from the heat and slowly pour onto the whisking egg whites. Add the lemon juice and continue to beat on a medium speed until the meringue has cooled and is thick and glossy.
Remove the outside ring from the pie tin and place the pie on a serving dish. Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon filling, shaping it so it looks dramatic with spikes and curls. Finely grate the zest of the lemon over the meringue and carefully brown the meringue using a blowtorch.
If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can remove the meringue from the pie ring and place it under a hot oven grill to brown – this will take a matter of seconds.
Made with Love: 100 of the World’s Best Chefs, Cooks and Food Artisans and the Food They Make For the People They Love brings together recipes from international chefs to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Published by PQ Blackwell, Made with Love will be in stores from November (RRP $49.95)