I have made this pie twice now and it turned out perfectly both times. Actually, I just realised that the pie is so easy to make I was able to make it on a Friday night after work, with a g&t in hand in preparation for having people over for a Saturday lunch. That’s how good this recipe from Donna Hay is! The lemon curd tastes of lemon, which is how it should be. The cloud of Italian meringue on top balances out the lemon flavours and the butter crust is the perfect contrast.
I enjoy making pastry and getting my hands dirty but it is a bit time consuming with all of the resting the pastry needs. I have discovered that resting the pastry just after you have made it and before you roll it out isn’t entirely necessary. Pastry copes just fine if you roll it out and rest it in your pie dish in the fridge for a little longer. It’s much easier this way too as trying to roll out a solid block of pastry that has firmed in the fridge is pretty challenging.
You should cook the lemon curd until it is about the thickness of runny yoghurt, it will have a bit of weight while you’re whisking it but still be runny enough to pour from the saucepan. Make sure your pastry has been cooked before you start on the curd as you need to pour it immediately into the crust, sometimes multitasking in the kitchen isn’t the best idea.
I made this recipe up to the curd the day before and did the meringue topping the day I served it. The pie is best eaten the day you make the meringue but if there are leftovers, it is good (just not as good) the next day.
- 1½ cups (225g) plain flour, sifted
- ½ cup (80g) icing sugar, sifted
- 125g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon iced water
- 1½ cups (375ml) milk
- 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
- ⅓ cup (50g) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 80g unsalted butter, chopped
- ⅔ cup (160ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) water
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 eggwhites, at room temperature
- Place the flour and icing sugar in a bowl and add cubes of cold butter. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs (or you can do it in a food processor).
- Add the egg yolks and mix together and add small splashes of cold water until the pastry forms a ball.
- Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper and line your pie dish.
- Place the pie dish in the fridge and allow to rest for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 160C and blind bake the pastry for about 15 minutes, remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 20 minutes or so, until the pastry is a nice golden shade of blonde.
- To make the lemon curd place 1 cup of the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil.
- Place the cornflour and remaining milk in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pour into the milk and sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter and whisk until melted and combined. Add the lemon juice, lemon rind and egg yolks and cook, whisking continuously, for 3–4 minutes or until thickened.
- Pour the lemon mixture immediately into the pastry shell, smooth the top with a spatula and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
- To make the meringue, place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat and stir with a metal spoon until just combined.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.
- Place the eggwhites in an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. While the motor is running, add the sugar mixture in a thin and steady stream and whisk for 1–2 minutes or until thick and glossy.
- Spoon the meringue over the lemon filling and grill under a preheated hot grill for 30–60 seconds or until golden.