This is a variation on my classic Lemon Meringue Pie, keeping the ingredients (almost) the same, but just making it in 2 parts. This will ensure the perfect, wispy, slightly crunchy meringue topping and best of all- you won’t have to worry about your meringue shrinking, weeping or getting soggy! Make it ahead this festive season and be sure to enjoy more time around the table with family and friends.
Here’s what goes in
For the base:
1 packet of Tennis biscuits, crushed (200g)
125g of butter, melted
For the filling:
2 egg yolks
2 tins of condensed milk (385g each)
half a cup of lemon juice
lemon rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
For the meringue:
3 egg whites
1 cup of castor sugar
1 teaspoon of white vinegar & vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cornflour
How to do it:
The easiest way to crush the biscuits is to empty them into a zip seal bag and gently crush them with a rolling pin or another suitably heavy object. Combine the biscuits with the melted butter in a mixing bowl. Press this mixture firmly into a greased spring form cake tin. Use the back of a metal spoon to smooth it down and then refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
Separate the eggs and mix the yolks with the condensed milk. Then add the lemon juice, stirring well to combine. Once the mixture has thickened, grate in the lemon rind and pour the mixture over your base. Return the pie to the fridge while you make the meringue.
This meringue is going to be made separately, like a pavlova. Remember that it will expand in size as it bakes, so make the area of the meringue a little smaller than your pie size to begin with. Preheat the oven to 150º.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then gradually add the castor sugar, a large spoonful at a time, while you keep the mixer going. I love using my electric cake mixer for this because it means that I can be hands-free while the machine does the work for me. Once all the sugar is in, your meringue should be stiff and shiny.
Using a large baking spatula, gently fold in the cornflour and vinegar. Add the vanilla essence last, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl until everything is thoroughly mixed in. Spoon this out onto a greased and lined baking sheet, making a circular formation. Try to create something that resembles a cake, with swirls and peaks.
Pop your meringue into the oven and bake it for about an hour. To check if it’s ready, open the oven door and gently tap the meringue. It should be firm and dry to the touch. If you’ve achieved that around the one-hour mark, don’t overcook it because you want it to have a soft, marshmallow-like texture in the middle. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly to allow the meringue to get down to room temperature.
To serve, first remove your pie from the springform pan and place it on a serving plate or cake stand. Gingerly peel the paper from under the meringue and pop it onto the pie- you can break up the edges a bit to make it “fit” or give it a more organic look. Dust with glitter, scatter a few rose petals or just serve as is! It’s bound to be as beautiful as it is delicious!