Tuesday, April 13, 2010

lemon meringue - from the 90's to today

For Easter, Mum presented me with a recipe book entitled desserts & after-dinner treats. We don't normally get Easter presents, but Mum had noticed that the book featured a variation on our favourite circle of choux, so decided it must be good and purchased us each a copy.

I took a look at the book, screwed up my face like a spoilt child and proclaimed it to be 'very 90's'. Unlike the simplicity of modern recipe books, each dish was photographed surrounded by a variety of goodies - usually flowers (fresh and/or dried), some raw ingredients (eggs were an favourite), a few serving utensils, some fine china, and ALWAYS a piece of random fabric draped round the dish.

I thought I better try making something from the book before I judged by it's food styling alone. We were having people round for lunch, so I decided to make the Lemon Meringue Pie featured in the book. I made double the filling, and modified the method of cooking slightly - as otherwise it would have taken all day - the recipe suggested blind cooking the pastry, then letting it cool and similarly making the lemon filling then letting it cool, then putting the cooled lemon curd into the cooled pastry, topping with meringue and cooking again... too much admin for me, so I put the still warm lemon filling into the hot pastry added the meringue and cooked the lot. And the results were very pleasing. The pie was nice and high, and easly came out of the pie dish. The lemons I used were fairly bitter, so the meringue provided a nice sweet contrast, and the pastry was lovely, light and crisp.

Inspired (I'm not sure if that's quite the right word?!) by the food styling in the book, I decided to jazz up my photos too, with some flowers, fabric and a whole lemon! Here's the recipe if you too feel inspired:

Lemon Meringue Pie from deserts & after-dinner treats (reprinted best-seller)

1 1/4 cups plain flour
2-3 tablespoons icing sugar
125g butter, chopped

1/4 cup cornflour
1/3 cup water
1 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
3/4 cup caster sugar (I used normal sugar)
4 egg yolks (I only put two egg yolks in - not sure why!)
30g butter, chopped

4 egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar (I used normal sugar)

For the pastry:
sift flour and icing sugar, rub in butter until mixture is fin and crumbly. Add almost all the water, mix to a firm dough, adding more liquid if necessary. Roll out, and cover base and sides of a 23cm round pie dish. Refrigerate for 20 minutes the blind bake for 10 minutes (temperature was not specified in the book, but I cooked it at 180c)

For the filling:
combine cornflour with a littler water to make a smooth paste. Combine remaining water, juice, rind and sugar in a small pan, stir until sugar dissolves, then add cornflour mixture. Stir over moderate heat until the mixture thickens. Remover from heat, whisk in egg yolks and butter.

To make the topping:
Beat egg whites until soft peak forms, add the sugar gradually, beating constantly until dissolved. Poor filling into pastry shell, spread with meringue to cover, bake at 150C for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

We had a gluten free guest for lunch, so I also made an individual pie in a wee ramekin with just the filling and meringue... and of course used the 90's food styling!


  1. Lemon Meringue Pie I always think of as being a bit '80s, or even '70s. You're so right about the '90s food styling though, I don't think I've given it that much thought how things have changed. Looks delicious!

  2. I think of lemon meringue pie as being from the fifties! My mum used to make it for us back then......I don't know whether her mum made it for her.....if so, it could have been back in the nineteen tens or twenties!


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