Despite being quite a classic, this recipe started off as something completely different. I started wanted to showcase the lemon. It's a versatile fruit given it works across for all of the taste groups, although I typically associate it with sour and sweet. First of all I created a maracon cake which had a lemon and white chocolate set curd filling. Whilst I was happy with the filling I wasn't happy with the cake. After making the second version of this I decided to go back to the drawing board. I first removed the ground almonds from the recipe which instantly made me think of Lemon Meringue Pie. Happy with this new direction I then focussed on the pie crust. I'm not a champion of shortcrust pastry as I find it can be so beige at times, and I didn't want the pie component to let down the meringue and lemon filling. I also wanted to have a third texture and flavour to the pie given you have the soft marshmallowy meringue and the smooth zingy lemon set curd. Going back to the ground almonds I ended up with my recipe for Almond Sweet Shortcrust Pastry. And that, is how this Lemon and White Chocolate Meringue Pie came to be and I hope that you enjoy!
Hands-on Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 30 minutes
1 portion of Almond Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (chilled for at least 30 mins)
2 Eggs, medium
3 Egg yolks, medium (use the whites to make the Swiss Meringue)
50g Caster sugar
1tsp Powdered gelatine
150g White Chocolate
20cm Loose bottomed flan tin
Firstly, get on the pastry case.
Place the pastry on the worktop and unfold the clingfilm so it’s as flat as possible.
Roll out into a circle a few cm larger than your flan tin. Keeping it in the clingfilm allows you to easily lift the dough and check the size.
Peel the top layer of clingfilm off and place on the worktop next to you.
Flip the dough over into the flan tin. Remove the other piece of clingfilm and place on top of the other discarded piece, you can reuse these when baking.
Gently press the pastry into the corners of the tin. The pastry dough is rather soft, don’t worry. If you are able to remove any excess pastry, tear off a piece and use this to help with the pressing. Press it into the tin. If there are any cracks, plug them torn off pieces of overhanging pastry.
Trim off all excess pastry with a knife.
Place the clingfilm into the pastry case and pop it into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
In the meantime preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C (Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Fill the clingfilm with baking beads and tuck any excess clingfilm inwards.
Pop the tin into the oven for 20 minutes. When the time is up carefully lift the clingfilm along with the beads out of the case.
Prick the base of the case all over with a fork and pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
By this time the case should be a lovely dark golden colour. Leave the case in the tin aside to cool.
The pastry may puff up around the sides of the tin. If this has happened, once the case has cooled, carefully trim with a serrated knife so you have a sharp clean edge.
Now to get on with the lemon filling!
Grate the zest of 4 of the lemons into the saucepan.
Squeeze the juice of all 5 lemons over the measuring jug. You are looking to have 200ml. If you are shy of this then top up with water.
Pour 200ml of lemon juice over the lemon zest in the saucepan.
Add 50g of sugar along with gelatine.
Place the pan over a medium heat and stir with a spatula until the sugar and gelatine have dissolved. Do not let it boil!
Once they have dissolved, take the pan off the heat.
In a clean mixing bowl whisk together 3 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs.
Break up the white chocolate and place in a microwaveable bowl.
Pop the bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds before giving it a stir with a clean spatula. Repeat this until the chocolate has melted.
Return to the eggs and start whisking again. Slowly add the lemon mixture whilst you continually whisk.
Once the lemon and eggs have combined, add the white chocolate ensuring you scrape all of the chocolate into the mixing bowl. Whisk again.
Pour the mixture into the saucepan and place over a medium heat.
Stir continuously with a spatula until the lemon mixture has thickened.
Take the pan off the heat and remove the pie tin from the fridge.
Pour the mix into the pastry case and leave to on the worktop to cool.
Once the filling has cooled, pop the tin back into the fridge for 1 hour to set.
Finally, prepare the meringue as instructed.
Now you are ready to finish the pie!
It’s up to you how you cover the pie with meringue. You can use a spoon and create swirls, a palette knife to make a sharp edge, or pipe!
I prefer piping. I covered the centre of the pie with meringue and smoothed this over with a palette knife to give me a level surface. I then piped little peaks over the top with the remaining meringue.
If you want to colour the meringue once you’ve finished decorating either pop the pie under the grill for a minute (just keep an eye on it) or use a blowtorch (if you have one that is).
If you are making peaks like mine, do be careful with the grill as you may find the tops may catch!