Lemon Berry Meringue (the party in a pie)

berry lemon meringue pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

Let’s cut to the chase with this.

Lemon Meringue Pie is the best dessert in the world.

The end.

Well, perhaps just a touch more. It has to be lemony, and tarty (and just quietly, a generous serving.)

I’ve been slowly building on my lemon meringue pies over the years and have accepted the fact that come birthday time, it’s a little meringue something that is to be made for the celebratory affair.

As the day in question was going to be a day that fell in the middle of the week with rather a lot of ‘normal’ things going on around it, I took it upon myself to create my own party in a pie shell.

As I’ve said before, I love, making my own birthday cake (or pie) as it happens. It means I get to make whatever I want and however I want. That is indeed a wonderful thing when I usually make things to cater for other people’s taste buds all year long.

This year there was no tweaking of last years recipe except for creating more “bling” up top in the form of flowers and berries. Sometimes it can just be ridiculously fun to, well, play with your food. (Even when your Italian Meringue doesn’t behave as it should and becomes the smooth oozy type. Yep, you just roll with it… keep playing.)

italian meringue || cityhippyfarmgirl

berry lemon meringue pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

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Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe can be found here.

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little soft sweet white peaks of cloud

lemon meringue

lemon meringue

My grandmother once told me she used to make a sponge cake each year for her own birthday cake when her kids were young. That’s what they all loved to eat, so that’s what she would make, she said over a pot of tea one day. Kind and generous yes, and certainly in keeping with a birthday spirit. But… my 83 year old grandmother doesn’t like sponge cake. She never has.

It was probably never going to be a problem that I would have. Committed to my kids taste buds, of course. I frequently catered to their often under ripe taste buds. But committed enough to make them (me) a sponge cake? Oh hell no, (I don’t like them either.)

Several people offered to make me a birthday cake this year. I said that was so very kind, and then politely declined though. You see, I love making my own cake (or tart as the case may be.) It’s the one time of the year, I can make something exactly to my own taste buds. No chocolate, no lollies, no cream… no sponge cake.

For this years birthday I had lemon meringue pie on my mind, and I’d been planning it ever since the last time I had made it, (with added blueberries for good measure.)

“…but it’s not a proper birthday if there isn’t cake,” declared an unsure little voice.

 “Piffle,” I said confidently, “How exciting will the little soft sweet white peaks of cloud like meringue look in amongst a few candles.” Birthday’s can be anything you want it to be, that’s the wonderful thing about birthdays.” 

I kept that close in mind when I decided I would like wholemeal spelt pancakes, blueberries, mangoes, crackers and cheese for dinner as well…anything I want it to be, right?

lemon meringue

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And as my still fairly recent tradition of making something meringue-y for my birthday continues, so does my recipe list.

Lemon Meringue Pie 2013

Blue Cherry Meringue Tart 2012

Berry Meringue Tart 2011

A Rather Tall Birthday Cake 2010

a lemon meringue pie to die for

lemon meringue pie- cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirl

lemon meringue pie- cityhippyfarmgirl

I’m the kind of girl who when reading a menu in a restaurant, goes straight to the dessert list at the back.

I’m also the kind of girl who is happy to squash a nose up against cafe glass in order to see a cake cabinet just that little bit better.

I’m definitely the kind of girl to stare off dreamily, thinking about how I was going to tweak my current Lemon Meringue Pie recipe.

It’s just the sort of girl I am.

Me and Lemon Meringue Pie go way back. Way, way back to the time when as a little girl, I would take just a little longer in the fridge than was necessary, carefully dipping my finger into the lemony mixture of the pie. I’d also watch any baking my mum would be doing using condensed milk, hoping for a quick turn of her back, so I could get into that empty sweet goodness can. As a baby I was known to happily enjoy eating lemon segments in my highchair. You see Lemon Meringue Pie and I, we were always meant to be.

When I first blogged about it with this lemon meringue pie. I thought I had nailed it.

Alas, not so. Not even remotely. How do I know this? I know this as, this is the recipe that I will now take to my grave. Not in a not sharing kind of way, but more, I’d like to be buried with the recipe on me. It’s that kind of love.

Now I know Lemon Meringue Pie is serious business and people generally fall into two categories- you either thinks it ok, or love it to the moon and back, and maybe back again one more time. It’s the latter kind of people who will be scrutinising this recipe and wondering whether this really is the recipe to end all recipes, (and to be buried with.)

I sincerely think it is.

lemon meringue pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry

180g softened butter

50g icing sugar

2 egg yolks

250g plain flour

In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together until pale, then add the yolks. Gently mix through the flour and a tablespoon or so of cold water to bring it together. Between two baking sheets, roll it out to about .5cm thickness. Into the fridge for about an hour. Grease your pie or tart dish and line the pastry with it. With fork, prick the base all over and bake blind at 180C for about 20 minutes or until light golden.

Lemon Middle

1 can condensed milk

2 egg yolks

125mls lemon juice

zest of one whole lemon

1 tsp cornflour

Whisk in a pot over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Pour into the pie base and set in the fridge until cold.

Italian Meringue

2 egg whites

175g sugar

60mls water

Whisk egg whites to a soft peak form, while you are doing that, in a pot add the sugar and water. Dissolve over a medium heat, using a small wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar particles on the side. Bring the heat up to 121C (hard ball stage) and with the mixer still going high, pour in the sugar syrup in a steady slow stream. Keep beating until the mixture is thick and glossy (about 10 minutes or so, until it becomes room temperature.)

Pipe it on to your pie base.

Eat with enthusiasm and generous helpings.

In my kitchen

In my kitchen sat my absolute favourite pie in whole wide universe…. lemon meringue. It had been a while since I had made it and Monkey Boy asked ever so nicely if I would. I didn’t want to disappoint, so made it, gave him a small slice, and packed him off to bed. This left me to admire a rather large slice of my own. Lemon meringue pie is one of those lick the bowl when your done kind of moments. Yep, it really is.

And I would have been crazy not to make one, as I had these fat gifted backyard lemons sitting on my kitchen table waiting to be loved.

A trial of a Pear and Ginger Slice. Amazingly enough I actually followed a recipe this time. It wasn’t bad, I would tweak it a little to cater more to my taste buds. But definitely not bad.

The last of my dad’s pumpkins. The orange of the flesh in these pumpkins has been amazing. Nothing like a super market bought one what so ever. I’m still thinking about my pumpkiny options.

My new mixer love arrived. Oh my sweet, sweet goodness how I love it! (Very, very nerdy post to come soon.)

In my kitchen, there has been quite a lot of my staple salad. I very rarely tire of eating kale… which is lucky, as there is quite a bit around at the moment.

and lastly, in my kitchen sits two new pans. I’m not usually one to buy new kitchen gadgets just for the sake of it, (despite desperately needing a new cooking pot- as I had burnt the crap out of one of my usuals.) Mr Chocolate wanted these, and if it had just been me, there is no way I would have got them. Thankfully I did though, as I am hooked. Cooked on low to medium, ceramic coating, no oil used, heats up really quickly, (and makes a perfect pancake!)

What’s been happening in your kitchen?

linking up with the ever lovely Celia@Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie was always my childhood favourite dessert. Mums recipe was a little cut out one from some out dated ’70’s magazine and I thought it was heaven in a pie dish.

Actually I still think its heaven in a pie dish.

There are so many sweet lemony concoctions that pass as lemon meringue pie. Pastry base vs biscuit base. Tangy vs sweet. Meringue that is sky high or just slapped on.

I get nervous ordering this if I am out somewhere as its such a let down when the taste isn’t up to scratch.

My mums lemon meringue pies have actually evolved a little over time, and depends on who is coming to visit on which type she will make. For me the original is still the best, with a few tweaks from me if I make it though. I’ve only made it a few times as,

1/ I’ll eat it all with no holding back and,

2/ When something is such a favourite, I actually get a little nervous cooking it. High expectations!

The original recipe calls for a biscuit crumb base, but I think the pastry does it more justice though.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry

300gms (2 cups) plain flour

150gms butter

1 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup icing sugar

a little cold water

Knead dough lightly, cover in cling wrap and rest in fridge for about an hour. Roll dough out. Cutting to pie shape (I did individual sized ones), bake blind at 180C. Pastry does shrink a little, so allow room for that. Any left over pastry can be put in the freezer for another time.

Lemon Mixture

1 tin condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

grated lemon rind of 2 lemons

3 egg yolks

Add all the ingredients together, combining well, and then carefully spoon into cooked pie shells.

Meringue

3 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

In a mixer slowly add sugar to egg whites until forms stiff meringue peaks.

Dollop meringue on to lemon mixture in the pie shells, and bake at 180C until peaks start to colour (approx 15 mins).

I also had some left over lemon mixture and meringue, so rather than make up more pies I made a Lemon Meringue Cake. Just added a cup or so of S/R flour to the lemon mixture and then folded the meringue through. Whack it in the oven and bake until springs back and golden. Easy- peasy.