Monday, January 5, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is one of my favourites and a real party treat. It is easy to make though you have to be diligent with stirring the custard, and it knocks the socks off the shop bought powder which is rubbish. (Unlike Bird's Custard which is great and as good as real egg custard for nostalgic comfort food!)

I have this recipe in an old autograph book I got for my 18th Birthday from my best friend Anne, and while I never used it for its intended purpose it has been all over the world with me.

It also contains recipes as diverse as cooked play-dough, Anzac Cookies and Papaya Jam added at various stages, reflecting our location and the kids life stages! The kids also added some of their own recipes, which make for interesting reading!

I have no idea where this recipe originated but I know I first made it in when we lived in Mishamo, a refugee settlement in Rukwa Region in Western Tanzania in the early 80s. We had lots of lemons for lemonade and pie, and when we lived in Iringa it became a much requested party dish, and looked impressively complicated to garner lots of compliments! It's now a signature dessert and party favourite of mine.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Shortcrust pastry base:
8oz/200gm flour
4oz/100gm butter
1oz/25gm icing or caster or normal sugar
1 egg (for rich pastry) or water for plainer)

(Preheat Oven to 200 degrees centigrade)
1. Rub in butter to flour to crumbly texture
2. Add sugar and egg/water and mix well with knife blade to bind stiffly together
3. Knead lightly and roll out on floured surface
4. Put in base of 10 inch/28cm deep pie dish
5. Bake blind with dried kidney beans on greaseproof paper to weigh down for 15-20 mins
6. Remove beans and paper and bake for about 10 minutes till golden

Lemon Custard Filling:
2oz/50gm flour3 tablespoons cornflour
6oz/150gm sugar
1.5 pints/850mls water
3 egg yolks - beaten - (keep whites separate for topping)
8 tablespoons lemon juice (squeezed freshly)
Lemon peel grated
pinch salt
1oz/25gm butter

1. Blend Cornflour in some of the cold water (few spoonfuls) and add flour and sugar.
2. Add water and stir constantly until bubbling - remove from heat now
3. Add some of the mixture to the egg yolks, stir and return to pan and cook over low heat until bubbling again.
4. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and peel, salt and butter, stirring well to ensure not lumpy 5. Pour into baked pastry shell, cool

Meringue Topping: (I use same as Pavlova recipe - slightly crumbly and yummy!)
3 Egg whites
6oz/150gm sugar
half teaspoon Vanilla Essence (or Vanilla Sugar if you keep a pod in a jar topped up with sugar)
half teaspoon Cornflour
half teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice

1. Beat egg whites (electric whisk) till stiff, add remaining ingredients and beat well till peaking. 2. Top Pie with meringue, making sure to cover custard fully to edge of pie crust
3. Bake at 150 degrees Centigrade for 15 mins approx until peaks are golden.
Cool, and enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream to really indulge!

1 comment:

Diary From Africa said...

Oh, it looks scrumptious ! I love lemon meringue pie, & we do sometimes have a glut of lemons which I never know what to do with. I agree with you 100% about the Birds Custard Powder, too :)