Lemon meringue

First, I apologise for the poor quality of this photo.  It was after Sunday dinner and I was serving nine people a choice of either baked apples or lemon meringue ( or both if you are Mr OC) and they were anxious to dig in.  I felt bad delaying them whilst I tried to get a decent shot.  So I gave up and took this one. It doesn’t do the pie justice at all.  A lemon meringue is a thing of beauty, a crumbly biscuit base, tangy lemon filling and pillowy meringue – heaven.

I always use Mary Berry’s recipe from her The Aga Book (published by Aga Rayburn) as it is completely fail-safe and makes a very good pie indeed. You can make a biscuit base  or you can do a sweet pastry base.  Both are good but I think biscuit may just have the slight advantage so this is the one I tell you about here. Now, because I always make this in my Aga I am going to concentrate on telling you this method and then tell you how Delia Smith cooks hers so that you can use this information for whatever oven you have.

These instructions are for a 23cm loose base metal flan tin

Biscuit base:

175g (6oz) digestive biscuits
50g (2oz) butter, softened
Mary Berry adds 45g (1½ oz) demerara sugar but I don’t think this is necessary so I omit it.

For the filling:

2 large or 3 small lemons
40g (1 ½ oz) cornflour
300ml (½ pint) water
3 egg yolks
75g (3oz) caster sugar

For the meringue:

3 egg whites
120g (4½ oz) caster sugar


For the biscuit base, place the biscuits in a food processor and whizz to crumbs. Add the softened butter and whizz again until combined.  If you don’t have a food processor, then place the biscuits into a large plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin (or similarly heavy implement) until crumbs.  Place the crumbs into a bowl.  Melt the butter and add to the crumbs and mix well.

Place the crumb mixture into the flan dish and press down with the back of a spoon until   it covers the base evenly and goes slightly up the sides of the tin. Place the tin onto a baking sheet and place in the roasting oven of the Aga, or into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6, for 6 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to one side whilst you make the filling.

For the filling:

Pour the water into a pan and bring to the boil.  Place the finely grated zest and the juice of the lemons into a bowl and add the cornflour and stir to blend. Pour in the boiling water and mix well, then return the mixture back to the pan and heat until the mixture thickens. Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl and then add to the cornflour mixture and stir on the heat allowing it to bubble a few times.  Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little before pouring evenly over the biscuit base.

To make the meringue:

Beat the egg whites until forming stiff peaks and then add the sugar one spoonful at a time beating well after each addition.  You should have a thick glossy mixture when finished.  Spoon this over the top of the filling making little peaks, which will brown nicely and become crunchy, contrasting with the soft meringue underneath.

For the Aga, place the pie (still on the baking sheet) on the grid shelf positioned on the third set of runners of the roasting oven for 2-3 minutes until gently golden.  Transfer to the simmering oven for a further 15 minutes.  You can serve it warm or cold, it’s delicious either way.

For an ordinary oven Delia recommends preheating the oven to 150°c, gas mark two and cooking at this temperature for 45 minutes.


18 responses to “Lemon meringue

  1. I do love lemon meringue pie but I have never actually tried making my own. When I do, it will have to look as impressive as Nigel Slater’s in the TV adaptaton of Toast – wow!

    • Louise do give it a try, it’s surprisingly easy to make and I know you would love it. I didn’t watch Toast, I am afraid Nigel blotted his copybook with me when he was damning of Wolverhampton. I am rather fond of Wolverhampton.

      • Ha ha – what did he say about Wolverhampton?
        I have been once when I was very young – maybe about 12? – can’t remember much about it, I’m afraid.
        I will give it a try – it’s bookmarked.

      • Well let’s just say he has developed fancy London ways… Wolves is quite close to where we live and I am very proud of my Midlands heritage and it disappoints me to see others don’t always feel the same way. I hope you do try making the pie, if you do, let me know how you get on.

  2. It is always a struggle when you have guests—photograph the food or just dive in and eat! I’ve had many good meals go undocumented—oh, well. It’s better to have happy dining companions!
    I think your meringue looks delish–
    Your recipe for the filling looks very similar to mine—rich, lemony, and not-too-eggy.

    • It is a struggle. I was determined this time though as one of our dining companions had lemon meringue at ours a couple of months ago and asked if it was on the blog and I hadn’t got round to taking a photo that time for the very same reason. It had to be this time, however bad the photo. Have you got your recipe on your blog? I am going to pop over for a peek.

  3. Kath, you made me laugh with your photo apology. I love how the piece slumps into itself. And I agree about the biscuit base. It just seems like the right thing to do with this kind of pie. It looks delicious. It looks like how a good piece of pie should look.

  4. I would have your lemon meringue every time, the baked apples wouldn’t even get a look in. I always use Delia’s recipe and her meringue is lovely and crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. Although true to say I am a huge Mary Berry fan too.
    I am afraid to say that there isn’t much left of Wolverhampton town centre these days.
    There was a very interesting article regarding the film Toast in the Mail on Sunday, this last Sunday. It was an interview given by his Step-mothers daughters and they make reference to the ‘lemon meringue pie’ .

    • Well, this lemon meringue pie of Nigel’s gets more interesting by the minute, I feel the need to investigate more. I do the wise thing Margaret and have lemon meringue followed by baked apples. It’s the only way to do things properly.

  5. Lemon meringue is one of those things I’m really not tempted by, but if I ever was going to be it would be yours – it does look rather splendid. Diners have a rough time with us food bloggers don’t they? Then again, they usually get to eat lots of yummy things, even if they are a tad on the cool side 😉

  6. I always hate trying to take photos when there are people to be served as well, looks lovely to me. I can almost taste the tang of the lemon!

  7. I rather like the photo, Kath. I must try lemon meringue with a biscuit crust–it sounds delicious.

  8. I have to give this a try! It’s the second recipe for this dish that I’ve seen in two days. That’s fate!

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