When life gives you lemons….

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Today was one of those days that I needed something sweet. Last weekend I went for dinner to a friends house and I made Lemon Meringue Pie, which tasted mega but the lemon curd didn’t set. So today I made another one!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the pastry

175g plain flour

100g cold butter, cut in small pieces

1 tbsp icing sugar

1 egg yoke

For the curd

2 level tbsp cornflour

100g golden caster sugar

finely grated zest 2 large lemon

fresh lemon juice from 2-3 lemons

juice 1 small orange

Fresh Lime Juice from 1-2 limes (if you don’t fancy the lime juice you can just use more lemon juice)

85g butter, cut into pieces

3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg

For the Italian Meringue

  • 200g

caster sugar

  • 4

egg whites

  • Pinch

of cream of tartar (if you don’t have this you can add a half teaspoon of white vinegar).

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To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. The pastry is quite rich, so don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour.

Preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (You can do this the day before to save time.) Lower the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

  • To make the Italian Meringue
  • Combine sugar and 200ml water in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves.

Reduce heat to medium and brush down sides of pan with a clean, wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.

  • Cook until syrup reaches 115C (soft ball stage) on a thermometer (10-15 minutes).

Start whisking eggwhites with cream of tartar in the clean, grease-free bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

  • Meanwhile, bring sugar syrup to 121C (hard ball stage). Increase speed to high and with motor running, gradually pour syrup into meringue. Beat at medium speed until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy (15-20 minutes). If you do not have a sugar thermometer you will have to make the meringue the traditional way. Put the grill on and slightly brown the meringue under it. As the sugar is so hot the egg whites are cooked.

Put the kettle on and enjoy a nice cuppa tea and a slice of cake!!

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