Lemon Meringue Pie
But first ……some awful slackening….
Now I am old and fat and mostly sedentary my absolute favourite thing to do is to spend time and laugh with my friends whilst eating and drinking lovely things. Hangovers prevent much partying hard with girlfriends as my aged body simply cannot cope with even half of the volume of alcohol that we used to chuck down our beautifully smooth necks with the gay abandon of bright young things. I also think that as you get older you have to be genuinely funny in order to pull off the loud, drunken role unless among very good friends. Give me 3/4 of a bottle of wine and I can go either way. It’s a shame but just too risky. To that end I like to throw lots of casual dinner parties that are more get togethers with everyone’s children invited. I feed the kids first and that way they can have a ball and entertain each other during the second sitting whilst the ladies drink and the men drink more until much shit and nonsense is spoken. No babysitters are required and yet serious socialising takes place, win win. Last weekend I laughed so much my core and pelvic floor got a workout comparable to a set of Kegel balls, probably and unfortunately large. My ever reliable party jester Mark was completely magnificent. When he is on form he is of Peter Kay stature and I’m not joking, an undiscovered talent let loose in my kitchen diner. However his hilarity posed problems for his wife and I as we found ourselves crying with laughter, instinctively cross legged clinging onto the nearest work surface in an attempt to keep everything in. I just knew that we were on a pelvic precipice and one more convulsive spasm could send us trickling over.
Some of my friends are more severely affected by this general and ruthless slackening and are referred from the docs to Continence Clinics (I kid you not) and sent home clutching paper bags filled with various contraptions in essence straight out of an Ann Summers catalogue. Really????? As if 100 love squeezes a day are going to make the difference between a seriously embarrassing situation and a jaunty outing in a jumpsuit. Is there really nothing more than a few love balls standing between us older ladies and an unpleasant waft??? ……It just seems so damned harsh…….
Anyway, I digress…I have lots of recipes that I use on these occasions, the one quality that they all share is that all are virtually made ahead. I am completely selfish about these evenings and like to be in on the action, buttering baps and flipping twenty burgers would leave me flapping and fretting. I tend to not really include the kids in my desserts and just feed them lollies and ice creams. Somebody usually brings chocolates and sweets for them too so winner winner chicken dinner.
This is my Lemon Meringue to die for Pie recipe. I usually make it in the morning and just leave it on the side to cool. The one thing I would say is that you need to devote yourself completely to it. It is not complicated but things can easily go Pete Tong if you are not paying attention and staying in the moment. I also find that I do get some liquid pooling sometimes in the bottom of the pie when I slice into it(most apt really). I have googled the problem and I think it is to do with the egg whites/pelvic floor. To this end I have added a few steps that seem to go a long way to preventing it but anyways it doesn’t affect the taste one little bit.
- 300g plain white flour
- 150g cold unsalted butter
- 40g sugar
- juice of 6 lemons
- 65g cornflour
- 6 egg yolks
- 250g sugar
- 450 ml water
- 6 egg whites
- 350g sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- I use a food processor to make my pastry but obviously you can use the old fashioned method and rub butter and flour in with your fingers. Pulse the food processor until the butter and flour resemble breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and whizz to mix. Add 1 tbsp of cold water and pulse until the mix comes together. Add more water if the mixture does not come together. However be careful to make sure that it really does need it as in a food processor it may take quite a few pulses before it starts to ball up.
- This recipe produces a bit more than is necessary but I like to have that bit extra as I find it easier to line my dish if I have more to play with. What’s left I leave for the kids to make jam tarts. Give the pastry a bit of a knead until it feels soft and pliable under your hands.
- Roll out pastry to fit a pie dish approx 9 ” wide and 2 “deep.
4.Trim off excess pastry with a knife and chill for an hour.
5.Bake blind in an oven preheated to 180 C for 15 mins.Remove beans and bake pie case for another five mins or until golden brown and biscuity to the touch.
- Mix the lemon juice and cornflour together very thoroughly.
- Measure 450ml of water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the cornflour mixture to the pan whilst stirring with a whisk and continue to stir until thickened over a medium heat.
- Mix the egg yolks and sugar together and then add to the pan again whilst stirring constantly until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and then immediately start the meringue.Whisk the whites until frothy and then add the sugar very gradually until stiff peaks are forming. Add the cornflour and then whisk again.
- Empty out the lemon filling into the pie case.Pile on the meringue in spoonfuls on top of the lemon filling.
- Cover the whole of the pie before placing in a preheated oven at 170 C for 15 mins until golden and crisp.
- Apply to seriously slim face.
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