For the pastry
300g plain flour
6 tablespoons caster sugar
120g butter chilled and cubed
For the lemon filling
6 lemons, zest and juice
250g caster sugar
6 free-range egg yolks
For the meringue topping
4 free-range egg whites
225g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
a 24cm/10-inch loose bottomed deep tart tin/pan, lightly greased and floured.
To make the pastry, put the flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the butter and 3-4 tablespoons cold water and mix until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs and starts to gather in lumps. Transfer to a lightly-floured work surface and briefly knead to form a ball. Wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 3.
Coarsely grate the chilled pastry into a large bowl. Using lightly floured hands, scatter the grated pastry into the prepared tart/tin and use your fingers to gently press it in until the entire base and the side of the tin are covered. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until golden. Set aside.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 140ml of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.
For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is still and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again. There are so many recipes online and in various books for meringue but this one will give you a soft meringue, perfect for this pie.
Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. Then create a swirl on the top of meringue. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.
It was rather delicious. Mum described the meringue as perfect cloud. Next time I think I might try and pipe the meringue top on so it’s as fancy as in the books.