Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my favourite desserts. I love both the taste and texture of it. Today I made one with a gluten-free pie crust.
How did it go? I don’t know why but I seem to have awful trouble with lemon meringues. The old recipe is correct and I was so delighted with it. I have made it multiple times. But I gave up gluten a couple of years ago so it’s been a while and actually that recipe, though correct, is kind of hard to follow.
I was feeling very good about my kitchen skills yesterday. I whipped up that savoury cake pretty quickly and it’s great. And then came the lemon meringue pie today… What went wrong? What went right? I added too much water to the pastry and had to add more flour and then after chilling and rolling it out, which was a whole thing in itself which the pastry sticking to everything and everywhere, it turned out I didn’t have enough pastry for the cake tin I’d chosen. Anyway I sorted that out. Then the lemon curd looked like it wasn’t going to set. I didn’t beat the whites enough as well… The muddles and fuddles seemed to fill up and crowd out the kitchen. While the pastry I made now fit the pan I’d chosen the curd and meringue is actually meant for a slightly smaller pie … so it just … *sigh*
I put it together anyway and decided to bake it rather than just brown the meringues under the grill. And miracles of miracles – this actually fixed the problem with curd and the meringue. So I left it outside to cool quickly and was thinking about how maybe I would write about it as some kind of a sign that when you think everything is ruined sometimes just plowing on anyhow with a little perseverance and determination makes things work out even when it seems they just cant or wont. My confidence in my cooking skills had dimmed a little but this was a bright little thought to ponder.
I gazed out the window and saw a lovely magpie who seemed to be pondering something also. It was standing beside my pie. – It was eating it! And it was stopping after every bite with a look that somehow strongly said “what exactly am I eating?”.
I shooed it away. Took the photos and cut out the part that the bird had enjoyed … possibly, I don’t think it knew if it was enjoying it or not. I think I mind that more than the theft.
Is it good? Yes. The curd and the meringue are good. The pastry is good enough but I added some ground almonds to it and it has a slight taste of marzipan which I don’t actually like. None of the stuff I make with ground almonds tastes like marzipan. The marzipan taste is very very slight but I would like to try something else. I think chestnut flour might be the thing to use. But I’m going put down the ingredients that I used today. If you are also not a fan of marzipan just use all gluten-free flour instead. If I do get some chestnut flour I’ll update here if it is a good addition.
Add all the ingredients, apart from the water, into a food processor and mix until they have reached a crumby consistency. With the mixer still running, pour in a tablespoon of water through the opening at the top. Let it mix around for a few seconds, you should start to see part of the dough clumping together. Pour in another tablespoon of water. Let it mix around for a few seconds. If the dough has all clumped together and has formed a ball, take this out dust with a little flour and put in a bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. If the dough didn't clump together add a teaspoon of water and let it mix around for a couple of seconds - do this until the dough has clumped together. Add as little water as is necessary.
Turn the oven on to 180 C. Grease a 8" pie dish. Roll out the pastry and line the greased pie dish with it. Dust a little flour over the dough, then place a sheet of baking paper on top and fill the dish with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take out, remove the baking paper and baking beans, and leave the pie crust aside till ready to assemble. Leave the oven on.
For the lemon curd
Add the lemon zest and water to a saucepan and place on a gentle heat. Leave to infuse for 3 - 4 minutes.
Whisk the sugar with the egg yolks together till they're well mixed.
Blend the lemon juice and cornflour together. Add this to the zest-infused water and turn up the heat. Keep stirring. You will probably be stirring for 2 - 3 minutes before the mixture thickens but keep stirring as it will thicken and by continuously stirring it in you'll ensure that it doesn't form lumps.
Once its thickened stir it in, bit by bit, into the sugar-egg yolk mix. It's important to add the hot mixture into the cold rather than adding the yolks straight into the saucepan to avoid curdling. When you have the lemon well blended with the eggs and sugar, again return to the saucepan, reduce heat to lowest setting and stirring continuously cook for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat and leave aside.
Whisk the egg whites with a fresh clean whisk. Whisk until soft peaks have formed then add the sugar and whisk till it's shiny and forming stiff peaks.
To make the pie
Pour the lemon curd into the pie crust, top with the meringue and bake in the oven 30 minutes until the top of the pie is golden brown.
The ground almonds give the pastry a slight taste of marzipan - if you don't like this use all gluten-free flour mix instead.
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