This old favourite never lasts long when we put it out on our shelves! The meringue topping should be generous and tall. There are two options for making the meringue in the recipe below: the Italian is our authentic version, but the nervous baker can use the simpler version. Use a warm knife when cutting the pie - it keeps the slices neat The sliced pie looks amazing with the bright yellow filling and white, fluffy topping.
8 egg yolks
2 x 397-g tins condensed milk
freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 8 unwaxed lemons
1 Basic Pie Crust partially blind baked
simpler meringue topping
6 egg whites
330 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
OR Italian meringue topping
400 g caster sugar
7 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Makes 10-12 slices
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2
Put the egg yolks, condensed milk and lemon juice and zest in a glass bowl and mix gently with a balloon whisk until all the ingredients are very well incorporated.
The mixture will thicken naturally. Pour into the partially blind-baked pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.
The filling should be firm to the touch but still very slightly soft in the centre (not wobbly!) Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight if possible.
For the simpler meringue topping:
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2
Put the egg whites in a freestanding electric mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of the sugar at a time, whisking well after each addition.
Once you have whisked in all the sugar, add the vanilla extract and whisk again until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue on top of the cold pie, making sure you completely cover the pie filling Create peaks and swirls in the top of the meringue with the back of a tablespoon Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and crisp to the touch.
(With this method, the egg whites are not cooked through, so please see the note on page 4 about uncooked or partially cooked eggs) Leave to cool completely before serving.
For the Italian meringue topping:
Preheat the oven to 150 C (300°F) Gas 2
Put the sugar in a small saucepan and just cover with water Set over medium heat and bring to the boil. While the sugar is on the hob, put the egg whites in a freestanding electric mixer with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed.
Whisk until the egg whites are light and foamy. When the sugar has been boiling for a short while, it should reach soft ball stage (see below). Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Once all the syrup is incorporated, turn the mixer up to maximum speed and whisk for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meringue has tripled in size and is very white and fluffy. Turn the mixer back down to medium speed and continue to whisk for a couple more minutes until the meringue has cooled down slightly.
Spoon the meringue on top of the cold pie, making sure you completely cover the pie filling. Create peaks and swirls in the top of the meringue with the back of a tablespoon. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and crisp to the touch. Leave to cool completely before serving.
Soft ball stage:
When the sugar has been boiling for a short while, the appearance of the bubbles starts to change from very watery to more syrupy. Dip a spoon into the sugar, then drop it directly into a glass of cold water.
The sugar will firm up on contact with the water. You should be able to form a soft ball out of the sugar, in which case it has reached soft ball stage. If it sets too hard to be able to form a ball, it has been boiled too long and has reached hard ball stage. Be careful. as the sugar goes from soft ball stage to hard ball stage very quickly Don't touch the hot syrup with your bare hands unt you have dipped the spoon into the glass of cold water, otherwise you will burn your fingers!
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