A work of culinary art
LAST week I wrote that we were heading down to Brisbane to sample all things delectable.
We are visiting our suppliers of overseas gourmet products to sample the European Christmas products that have just arrived.
On Monday we visited a French patisserie in Ascot for some pastry indulgence and I wasn't disappointed. I had a traditional lemon meringue pie. This perfect pie was a 'special occasion' dessert when we were kids.
Now we see them everywhere, great high domes of egg white nothing sitting on sickly sweet manufactured lemon curd and pre-fab pastry.
These great pretenders have ruined what was once a work of culinary art. Lemon meringue pie needs to be made at home with the love and respect it deserves.
The pie crust is sweet, short and slightly crispy, the curd should be tart and buttery and the meringue a light marshmallow nutty flavour. It's not a difficult pie to make, you just need to be organised.
LEMON MERINGUE PIE
- 225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
- 2 tbsp icing sugar mixture
- 125g butter, chilled, coarsely chopped
- 2 1/2 tbsp iced water
- 50g (1/3 cup) cornflour
- 125ml (1/2 cup) water
- 250ml (1 cup) fresh lemon juice
- 430g (2 cups) caster sugar
- 60g butter, coarsely chopped
- 4 eggs, separated
- Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl.
- Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the water and use a round bladed knife to stir until a dough forms.
- Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
- Turn onto a sheet of non stick baking paper and roll out to a 5mm thick disc.
- Use the pastry to line a 23cm (base measurement) pie dish. Trim excess pastry. Cover the pastry with baking paper.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Fill the lined dish with pastry weights or rice. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the paper and pastry weights or rice. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, to make the lemon filling, combine the cornflour, water, lemon juice and half the sugar in a saucepan.
- Use a balloon whisk to stir over medium heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for a further 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and egg yolks. Transfer to a bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 hours or until cooled completely.
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Use an electric beater to beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoonful at a time until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Spread the filling over the base of the pastry case. Spoon over the meringue mixture and spread to the edge of the pastry.
- Use the back of a spoon to create peaks.
- Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until the meringue peaks are light golden. Set aside to cool completely. Serve.