Lemon meringue pie

Serves 10
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A delicious old-fashioned dessert, intensely sweet and sharp at the same time.

For the pastry

250g/8oz plain flour
15g/1/2oz sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 whole egg

For the lemon curd

The juice and zest of 3 lemons

6 egg yolks
160g/51/2oz sugar
180g/6oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the meringue

3 egg whites
A pinch of salt
100g/31/2oz caster sugar

First make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar, vanilla extract and butter into a blender and pulse until it becomes the texture of wet sand. Add the egg and continue to pulse until a ball begins to form. Remove to a work surface and knead once or twice, then cover in clingfilm and place in the fridge for half an hour. As the pastry chills, make the lemon curd.

Place the lemon juice and zest into a bowl, whisk in the egg yolks and sugar to combine, pour into a heavy-based medium saucepan and place over a very low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon as the mixture begins to warm and thicken. Once the curd is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, begin to add the butter cube by cube, stirring all the while. It is very important that the mixture should not boil, as it will curdle. Once all the butter has combined, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool down.

Remove the pastry from the fridge, flour your work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is an eighth of an inch thick. Line a 10-inch tart tin with a removable bottom with the pastry, prick the base well all over with a fork and return to the fridge for a further 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas4, place the tart tin on the middle shelf and bake for 20 minutes; the pastry should be a light golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then spoon in the curd. Smooth the surface with a wooden spoon to ensure that the curd is spread evenly and return to the middle shelf of the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once again, remove the tart.

Now place the egg whites, salt and sugar into a clean bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue on top of the tart, turn up the oven to 200C/ 400F/Gas6 and return the tart to the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the peaks of the meringue are slightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. It needs no other accompaniment.

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