7 eggs, lightly whisked
310ml (1 1/4 cups) thickened cream
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
185ml (3/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
11/2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
125g chilled butter, chopped
2 tbsp icing sugar mixture
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp chilled water
315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) water
4 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add the cream, sugar, lemon juice and rind and whisk until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour to develop the flavours.
- Process the flour, butter and icing sugar until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water, a little at a time. Pulse to bring pastry together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200C/ 180C fan forced. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 4mm-thick disc.
- Use pastry to line a 5cm-deep, 25cm (base measurement) straight-sided pie dish. Trim the excess. Press the pastry slightly around the edge so it extends about 2mm above the edge of the dish
- Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice or beans. Blind-bake the pastry for 15 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
- Remove paper and weights. Bake for 5 minutes more. Cool. Reduce oven to 160°C/140°C fan forced. Pour lemon mixture into cooled pastry case. Bake for 1 hour, until just set. Cool. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Stir the sugar and 60ml (1 ⁄4 cup) water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, brushing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
- Cook the sugar syrup, without stirring, over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until it reaches 115C (soft ball stage) on a cook’s thermometer.
- While the syrup continues to cook, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- When the syrup reaches 121C (hard ball stage), slowly pour it into the egg white mixture. Whisk on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Place the chilled lemon pie on a serving plate. Spoon the meringue onto the pie. Use a flat-bladed knife to make swirls and peaks in the meringue.
- Use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelise the meringue. (Or, place pie on a baking tray and bake at 200C/180C fan forced for 5 minutes or until browned.)
While the filling is chilling and developing its flavour in the fridge, make and bake your pastry.
When making the sugar syrup, it’s important to brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush to stop sugar crystals forming.
With a twist:
- Orange meringue tartlets: Filling: Replace the lemon rind and lemon juice with orange rind and orange juice. Pastry: Double the recipe and line twelve 8cm fluted tart tins, with removable bases, with pastry. Bake pastry following recipe. Pour in the filling. Bake for 35 minutes or until just set. Meringue: Pipe the meringue on top and use a blowtorch or oven to caramelise.
- Crustless lemon meringue pie: Filling Whisk the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in microwave on medium, stirring every minute, for 10-12 minutes or until thick. Cover. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Spoon into glasses or ovenproof dishes. Pastry: Omit the pastry. Meringue: Pipe meringue onto the filling and use a blowtorch or oven to caramelise.
- Lemon and lime meringue muffins: Filling Reduce lemon juice to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 2 tsp lime rind. Pastry: Double the recipe. Use an 11cm round pastry cutter to cut 16 discs from the pastry. Line 150ml-capacity muffin pans with pastry. Bake pastry following the recipe. Pour in the filling and bake for 35 minutes or until just set. Meringue: Pipe on top. Use a blowtorch or oven to caramelise.