I’ve been documenting my cooking adventures here for almost four years now. I can’t believe how quick it’s all gone, but still, being a typical Gemini, that’s a jolly long time for me to stick to a hobby. Which is why I almost can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to write about the dish that might just be my favourite dessert in the whole wide world – lemon meringue pie. I just absolutely love them, so much so that even a bad one is usually awesome. But this particular recipe is something special indeed.
It starts with a buttery, crumbly pastry that must be handled with care. In fact as I was taking it out of the oven, perfectly golden after blind baking, I accidentally put my thumb through one corner and had to start from scratch! The filling is also interesting and beautiful, spiked with passionfruit juice which makes it just a little more special. Finally, it’s topped with lashings of meringue and torched. I like the blowtorch method (FIRE!) but you could also use the oven or grill.
The recipe made one large 23cm tart and four small ones, which I brought along to my Nanna’s birthday lunch over the weekend. They were quickly demolished without a crumb left over. I liked this particular recipe because it uses whole eggs rather than just yolks in the filling, and therefore doesn’t add to my growing collection of egg whites in the freezer. If you prefer a lemon tart without the meringue you could also brulee the top (as in the original recipe) for an impressive dessert.
Lemon and Passionfruit Meringue Pie
Adapted from Delicious UK
• 175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 50g icing sugar
• 100g lightly salted buter, chilled, cubed
• 1 medium egg, separated
• 3 ripe passionfruit
• Juice of 2 large lemons
• 6 medium eggs
• 250g caster sugar
• 140ml thickened cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 egg whites
• ½ cup caster sugar
For the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter and whizz briefly until crumblike. Mix the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons cold water, add to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to a large circle and use to line a greased 23cm loose bottomed tart tin (I also had enough to make 4 smaller individual tartlets). Dock the pastry base with a fork and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Line the pastry with baking paper and baking weights or rice and blind bake for 15 minutes or until lightly coloured. Remove paper and weights and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until golden.
To make the filling, halve each passionfruit and scoop the pulp into a sieve set over a measuring jug until you have about 50ml juice. Discard seeds. Add enough lemon juice to make up to 175ml.
Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and whisk lightly. Stir in the juice mixture, cream and vanilla. Pour through a sieve into a measuring jug. Pour into the prepared pastry case and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling is just set but slightly wobbly in the center. Set aside to cool but don’t chill.
To make the meringue, beat eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until mixture is stiff and glossy. Spread meringue on top of lemon tart and torch lightly with a blowtorch or place into the oven or grill until golden.