Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

As the mist descends again, it would seem rather risky to make meringue. But, hey - live on the edge, a little ; )

I spoke about these mini-lemon meringue pies a little while ago, but didn't give you the whole recipe. Actually if you've browsed through my recipes before, you'll have all the pieces of the puzzle, but let me put it together for you...

For the meringue, you use the first few steps of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream  recipe...just leaving out the butter.
For the filling of the pie, this lemon curd recipe.
And for the pie crust, half of this cookie dough recipe.

Yes, there are quicker ways to make lemon meringue - tennis biscuit crumbs for the crust, and a tin of condensed milk being key ingredients.
But there is something very rewarding about making a sweet pie from scratch, and the flavor is far richer than the "instant" kind.

You are going to need to set up a double boiler. And put aside some dedicated time to whisk ...whisk ....and whisk the eggs ( yolks and whites separately!)

To make it easier, though you can prepare everything except the meringue in advance:
The cookie dough can be refrigerated for a couple of days - or frozen for weeks!
Once baked, the cookie-dough bases can be frozen, too.
And the lemon curd will keep refrigerated for a week.


Lemon curd:
5egg yolks
Zest of 3 lemons
75ml fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
115g butter - in small cubes, at room temperature.

Whisk together the yolks and sugar, add the lemon zest and juice. Whisk constantly over a double boiler until the mixture is thick and pale - about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the zest. Then add the butter, one cube at a time, stirring between additions. Store in a container with a layer of cling film directly on the surface of the lemon curd.

Cookie crust:
200g butter
150g caster sugar
400g flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the zest.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stop the mixer when the dough starts to clump. Knead it into a ball by hand. Wrap in cling film, and refrigerate 3-4 hours, or overnight.

After refrigeration, roll out thinly. Cut out rounds with a fluted cookie cutter and place into mini-tart pans. I used silicone baking cases, but you can use aluminium mini pie cases.
Refrigerate again, or freeze if not using soon.

Bake at 180'C for 15 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden. (The baked pie crusts can be frozen, too, as I mentioned previously.)

Leave to cool then fill with a spoonful of curd.

5 egg whites
1 cup white sugar

Once again use the double boiler - but with the bowl of your mixer placed over the simmering water. Whisk the egg whites until they ate hot to the touch, and the sugar is dissolved. Then remove from heat, and beat with the whisk attachment of your mixer until stiff peaks firm.
Spoon into an icing bag fitted with a large pastry nozzle, and pipe a swirl of meringue onto the curd-filled pie cases.

Place into a medium warm oven - 140'C - and bake until meringue just gets a tinge of gold.

Refrigerate until serving.

1, 2 bites and it's gone....



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