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Lemon Meringue Pie

Updated on January 17, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie Brings Back Memories

Lemon Meringue Pie always reminds me of my Nana. This is strange really because she never actually made this dessert. I think it's because she loved Lemon Curd, lemon tea and made the best short crust pastry ever! Apple pies were her forte and my favorite.

To me Lemon Meringue Pie is very similar to Queen of Puddings which is a particular favorite of mine and one that both my Nana and Mom made. I'll share this recipe with you too.

It was when I came to New Zealand that I started to eat Lemon Meringue Pie on a more regular basis. It was my husband's cousin's favorite dessert. And I'm quite partial to it myself! Visits to the Brown household usually ended with this lovely dessert.

My sister-in-law loves to make it at Christmas for her Mum as it's her favorite dessert. And as we spend Christmas together I always get a piece of pie too!

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Good Cook 9 Inch Ceramic Pie Plate, Red
Good Cook 9 Inch Ceramic Pie Plate, Red

This pie dish is just the right size for making the Lemon Meringue pie. It's a heavy and sturdy dish that will look great with your dessert. Suitable for the microwave and freezer it's easy to clean.

 

Some of Your Ingredients

Photo by Lyn Bell

Topping the Pie

Pour or pipe the meringue on the top of your lemon mixture.

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Making Peeks with a Spoon

making peeks with a spoon
making peeks with a spoon

You can pipe peeks with a piping bag or make your peeks with a spoon.

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Ingredients

  • 170 g (6 oz) short crust pastry
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice and rind of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour (aka cornstarch)
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar

Instructions

  1. Roll pastry and line a 9 inch pie dish. Prick the base with a fork and leave for 30 minutes to chill.
  2. Heat the oven. Line the pie base with baking paper and blind bake at 200 deg C (400 deg F). Cool the tart shell.
  3. For the filling separate the egg whites and yolks. Place the egg yolks, water, lemon juice and rind, sugar, butter and cornflour into a double boiler. Stir over the boiling water until thick. Cook for 2 - 2 minutes extra. When cold turn the mixture into the cooled tart shell and top with meringue.
  4. For the meringue beat the egg whites until stiff then add caster sugar a little at a time. Beat well after each addition. Spread meringue over the lemon mix, covering completely. Cook at 200 deg C (400 deg F) for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.
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Do you make your own pastry?

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Short Crust Pastry

I usually cheat and use ready made pastry but if I do make my own this is the recipe I use. My Nana made hers with lard but I tend to use butter as it's something I always have available. Sadly she did not leave me her recipe which was in her head rather than on paper.

For a sweet short crust pastry ADD 25 g (1 oz) sugar and 1 egg yolk and mix with water

Ingredients

  • 225 g (8 oz) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 125 g (4 oz) butter (or lard or margarine)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cold water to mix

Instructions

  1. Sift flour and salt. Rub in the butter with the tips of your fingers until it resembles crumbs. Add baking powder and mix to a stiff dough with a little water. Do not use too much water as the pastry will be tough. Roll out lightly. Do not handle too much.
  2. Bake at 200 deg C (400 deg F) for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Lemon Squeezer

Stainless Steel Fresh Squeezed Juice Orange Lime Lemon Fruit Strainer Squeezer Maker Dome Mesh Strainer Citrus Juicer Tool with Bowl For Healthy Living
Stainless Steel Fresh Squeezed Juice Orange Lime Lemon Fruit Strainer Squeezer Maker Dome Mesh Strainer Citrus Juicer Tool with Bowl For Healthy Living

This certainly looks like my squeezer but as I've had mine for about 16 years I wouldn't know if it's the same brand. This is dishwasher safe and that's how I always wash mine. It works well for me. I leave it to sit for a bit to get the most juice possible. It's so much nicer that the plastic one I used to have!

My Mom gave me mine so I think of her whenever I use it.

 

Who Made the First Lemon Meringue Pie?

In searching the internet to find out who made the first Lemon Meringue Pie I actually found the answer really hard to find and inconclusive!

I was able to find a reference to the Quakers inventing lemon custard in the late 1700s.

It was after the arrival of Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow, a pastry chef and cooking school founder, in Philadelphia in 1806 that the lemon custard was elevated to another level by inventing lemon meringue pie.

My Mrs Beaton's Cookery Book has this pie listed under Canadian Cookery. And it's made with Condensed Milk!

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the use of the word "pie" relating to foods to 1303, with the word having become popular and in regular use by 1362.

Apparently lemon flavored custards, puddings and pies were enjoyed since Medieval times. It was in the 17th century that meringue was produced. It is said that the pie we are familiar with is a product of the 19th-century.

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Tips and Tricks

  1. Using even strokes always roll pastry away from you and do not press down hard with the rolling pin. This stops the pastry from shrinking when cooked.
  2. It is best to start making the lemon filling only after the pastry shell has been cooked
  3. If the pastry is too soft after rolling, place it in the fridge for 5 or 10 minutes until it is firm enough to handle.
  4. You can make the pastry case and filling the day before if you like. Add the meringue at the last minute, finishing off in the oven.
  5. Beat the egg whites just before placing in the oven as the eggs will separate on standing.
  6. The pie can be served hot, warm or cold.

Queen of Puddings - My Mom's Recipe

Queen of puddings is a very English pudding. It is similar to Monmouth Pudding which was first cooked in the seventeenth century, and the Manchester Pudding which was very popular in the nineteenth century. Some historians suggest that after a visit by Queen Victoria the dessert was renamed as Queen of Puddings in honor of the Queen who had admired the local Manchester Pudding.

Photo Credit: Queen of Puddings with custard

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (300 ml) of milk
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam
  • ~~***For the Meringue***~~
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g (2 oz) sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk and pour it on the breadcrumbs; add lemon rind, butter and sugar and leave aside for about half an hour for the bread to swell. Beat the egg yolks and mix with breadcrumbs. Pour mixture into a greased dish and bake for about 30 mins until set - 150 deg C to 160 deg C (300 deg F to 325 deg F). Spread the baked mixture with a layer of jam.
  2. Whisk egg whites until very stiff and fold in sugar. Pile onto pudding and return to the oven until lightly brown. 120 deg C (250 deg F)

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