When Life Gives You Lemons...

Make lemon meringue pie?

The other day I was making dinner and I decided to make a lemon herb chicken recipe. It actually turned out pretty well, but next time I'd either use thighs or skin-on chicken because the flavour didn't quite get through the whole meat. But anyway, not talking about meat here! So we only had one, slightly gross looking lemon. Or so I thought. Who knew we grow lemons? And there were heaps! They were all ripe, albeit most of the ones on the first tree were on the tiny side, so I went crazy and cut off heaps. That's actually a really good tip too, if you have the space, growing your own lemons/limes or any fruit, vegetable or herb can save a lot of money. You just have to remember to pick the fruit when they're ripe... So then we had a mountain of lemons and one recipe for lemon chicken. Hm... I decided to make it a lemon-themed dinner and try to skip out on a bit of study so I thought I'd make some lemon meringue pie. I'd never made it before and always wanted to and it turned out great! Especially for a first try. The only problem was that I used one of the recipes from Donna Hay off the Internet which used milk. I accidentally didn't watch the pot carefully enough and the bottom kind of burned...

So yeah. Luckily I have a lovely sister with extremely strong arm muscles... Thanks Alex! Mum and I thought that there must be a recipe in the book I had for the shortcrust pastry (Modern Classics 2, Donna Hay) and we were right! It turned out much better this time. Moral of the story-don't burn things. Especially milk. But this recipe uses water so give it a whirl, it tastes yum!

Lemon Meringue Pie

2 cups plain flour
3T caster sugar
150g cold butter, chopped
2-3T iced water

3T cornflour
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 normal sized lemons)
2 egg yolks
60g butter

4 egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 22cm-26cm pie dish well. Process the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is still running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough and process until just combined. (This part can be quite difficult to judge. After 3T my dough was still very dry, so don't worry if you need more iced water, but just be careful and process after each tablespoon.) Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of non-stick baking paper until 2-3mm thick or whatever thickness required to cover your tin. (What I do to get the pastry in is slowly work my hands underneath so that I don't break it, and quickly flip it into the dish. Then you lightly press in the bottom and sides and then work your way around the whole dish, making sure all the crevices are filled and properly pressed in.) Place a piece of non-stick baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking weights or beans or uncooked rice or pasta. (This step is called "baking blind". It means that the pastry won't rise in the middle and be weird.) Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and bake for a further 10-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Pour the cooled filling into the pastry and refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Then spoon the meringue mixture on top of the filled pie and place under a hot grill for 1 minute or until the meringue is set and golden.

Lemon Curd Filling:
Place the cornflour and water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Place the cornflour mixture, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over medium-high heat and whisk until the mixture boils, then boil for 5 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir through the egg yolks and butter. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meringue Topping:
Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Yum yum!

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