Sweet, tangy Lemon Meringue Pie. Impress your family and friends with this completely homemade dessert; You don’t have to tell them it is a lot simpler than it looks!
Lemon Meringue Pie is really quite self explanatory, but just incase you’ve never eaten one… Imagine thin, crisp, just sweet pastry, with a generous filling of tart lemon curd which makes your house smell Amazing (capital letter definitely justified!) as it bakes, and then topped with soft, pillowy meringue, with a crisp, sugary meringue-crust on the top. Sounds great, right! Now imagine just how good it tastes…
Lemon Meringue Pie is such a classic dessert for a very good reason. The combination of the sweet meringue and pastry, heightened by the sharp lemon curd filling just makes it the perfect way to end a meal. Although sometimes it can be on the sweet side, this recipe provides just the right balance of sweet and tart flavours, giving it an appeal to all the family.
You can make the making of Lemon Meringue Pie as complicated as you like… or we can use a few cheats to really speed it up! The first thing that will be your friend if you are in a hurry is shop bought pastry. Although perhaps not as satisfying as making your own, it sure does speed it up if you need to do this quickly. And, most of them are dairy free! It is very surprising, but read through the ingredients and often they don’t contain any milk… Just avoid the ones that shout about being ‘all butter pastry’ obviously!
The other way to speed this up is to make your lemon curd in advance. OK – so that’s not really ‘saving’ time, as you’ve still got to make it – but Lemon Meringue Pie does not keep very well, so if you’re short on time the day you want to eat it, taking it straight from a jar you’ve previously made is a great time saver. If you do need to make some just for this pie, then take my Lemon Curd recipe and only make 1/2 the recipe (which is a generous amount for this dessert). By making it right before you bake the pie, you save time not faffing around with sterilising jars and worrying about everything being squeaky clean – we do this normally because we want to be able to keep it mould free in the fridge for some time, but here it’s going to eaten that day so we don’t need to worry!
So give this classic dessert a go, and you’ll find this will become a family favourite to go back to time and time again.
Serves 4 – 6, takes 40 minutes plus baking and cooling time. If you need to make the lemon curd, this will take another 30 minutes.
I made this using 2 12cm fluted loose bottom pie tins (so that we didn’t have soggy left overs!) or you could use 1 23cm fluted loose bottom pie tin.
- 115g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 25g dairy free butter (I used Pure Sunflower), cut into small cubes
- 25g dairy free pastry butter/ vegetable lard (I used ‘Cooken’ pastry butter), cut into small cubes
- 3 – 3 tbsp water
- Lemon Curd:
- 1 jar of Lemon Curd – Recipe here
- Meringue topping:
- 2 egg whites
- 110g caster sugar
- Pinch of Cream of Tartar
- Make the pastry (or if using shop bought, skip to step 3). This can be done the night before to give the pastry adequate chilling time. In a food processor, weigh out the flour, sugar, salt and butters and pulse until it begins to look like breadcrumbs. Add the water to the dough, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing in between each addition. The amount of water you need to add will simply depend on your flour and the weather on the day you make this. At somewhere between 2 and 3 tbsp of water the dough will begin to come together in a ball, collecting up all the dough around the food processor.
- Take the dough from the processor, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- When the dough is chilled, grease the loose bottom tin lightly with some dairy free butter, making sure you grease well into the rivets. Cut a circle of grease proof paper and line the bottom of the tin. (tip: See here for my tips for lining a tin with pastry)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin with a tbsp of flour. Roll out the pastry to 1/2cm thick and large enough to line the tin.
- Line the tin with the pastry (trim the excess) and prick the base all over, cover with grease proof paper and fill with baking beans. Put back in the fridge until the oven has come to temperature (about 15 minutes).
- Blind bake the pie case for 15 minutes, remove the grease proof paper and baking beans, and then bake for a further 5 minutes. The pie case should be lightly golden and the base should feel completely dry to the touch.
- Add 1 jar of lemon curd to the pie case(s) – the case should be about 2/3rds full (obviously if making 2 smaller pies, add 1/2 jar to each!) .
- Add the egg whites to a large, clean bowl, and whisk until it reaches soft peaks. Add 1 heaped tsp of caster sugar at a time, until all incorporated and the egg whites reach stiff peaks. Right before it is complete, add a large pinch of cream of tartar.
- Spoon the meringue on to the lemon curd and using a pallet knife or the back of a spoon, smooth over until all covered and just touching the pastry at the edges. Create some peaks in the meringue to get crisp in the oven.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes for a 12cm pie, or 20 – 25 minutes for a 23cm pie, until the meringue is golden brown and dry to the touch.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, and serve whilst still warm with ice cream, custard or fresh berries.
Note: This is best served and eaten on the day it is filled with lemon curd and meringue. The pastry case could be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperatue once completely cooled.