Fred Foster’s Lemon Meringue Pie

When life gives you lemons, grab a grater and make this incredible lemon meringue pie. Fred Foster of Borough Market’s Turnips shares his recipe for a zesty delicious finish to any meal

“When lemons are at their peak, we should use them to make stunning desserts! This tart is so simple but with an unbelievable flavour thanks to the amazing lemons that are available at this time of year.”

Serves 4–6

For the pastry:
• 180g (6¼oz/1⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for rolling out 
• 55g (2oz) icing (confectioner’s) sugar 
• pinch of salt 
• 120g (4¼oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced 
• finely grated zest of 1 lemon 
• 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:
• 2 eggs 
• 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue, below) 
• 150g (5½oz) caster (superfine) sugar 
• finely grated zest of 2 lemons 
• 120ml (4fl oz) lemon juice 
• 120g (4¼oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced 

For the meringue: 
• 250g (9oz) caster (superfine) sugar 
• 4 egg whites 
• finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Make the pastry. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and, using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles crumble and there are no pieces of butter still visible.
2 Add the lemon zest and mix to combine. Gradually add the egg and mix using a palette knife until the dough clumps together. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, then flatten it into a disk, cover it and chill it for 30 minutes.
3 Roll out the chilled pastry on a floured work surface into a disk large enough to line an 18cm (7in) tart tin. Transfer the pastry to the tin and trim off any excess. Prick the base with a fork and chill the tart case while you preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. 
4 Line the pastry case with foil, fill it with baking beans and bake it for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the beans and foil and cook the pastry for a further 2–3 minutes to dry out. Leave to cool. 
5 Make the filling. Combine the eggs, yolks, caster sugar, zest and juice in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.
6 Whisk for 15–20 minutes, until the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon. Gradually whisk in the butter, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the cooled pastry case. Chill for 2 hours, until set. 
7 Meanwhile, make the meringue. Tip 225g (8oz) of the sugar into a small saucepan. Add 100ml (3½fl oz) of water and set the pan over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup reaches 120°C/235°F on a sugar thermometer. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer with the remaining 25g (1oz) of sugar until they hold soft peaks. Whisking continuously on a slow speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites.
8 Once you’ve added all the syrup, increase the speed to high and whisk until the meringue is cold, thick and glossy.
9 Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ribbon nozzle and pipe the meringue in ruffles all over the top of the set lemon tart.
10 Use a blow-torch to lightly caramelize and brown the meringue, scatter with extra finely grated lemon zest and serve in slices

Recipe courtesy of Fred Foster, extracted from Turnips’ Edible Almanac (published 6th October 2022 by DK).

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