what is lemon meringue pie?
Lemon meringue pie is a popular dessert that consists of three main components: a flaky pastry crust, a tangy lemon filling, and a light, fluffy meringue topping. The combination of the buttery crust, the tart lemon filling, and the sweet meringue creates a delightful contrast of flavors and textures, making Lemon Meringue Pie a beloved dessert.
This combination is thought to have been inspired by the French lemon tart, while the addition of meringue might have been influenced by the Swiss and Italian desserts of the time. This dessert is so popular that it has its own national day – August 15th. It even inspired the martini world with the Lemon Meringue Martini – the pie in liquid form.
While the old-fashioned recipe is a timeless favorite, numerous creative variations take this dessert to new heights. Some of them are lemon meringue bars, lemon meringue cheesecake, lemon meringue parfait, vegan lemon meringue pie, or lemon meringue with fruit compote (raspberry, cranberry, or passion fruit).
Some recipes are healthy with low sugar or sugar-free, some use lemon curd instead of lemon filling, and some make the cake easier to make with a biscuit base, sweetened condensed milk, or jello.
Gluten-free lemon meringue pie recipe
There’re lots of lemon meringue pie recipes, but it’s hard to find one with gluten-free ingredients. So, I decided to make a gluten-free one.
Gluten-free pastry is notoriously tricky stuff – gluten is the stretchy bit that binds stuff together (that’s the highly technical term, in case you didn’t know!) so without it, pastry has a tendency to fall apart. However, after a lot of experimentation, I’ve found that the addition of a little bit of egg yolk works wonders.
Of course, if you’re not coeliac, you can just make normal pastry, without any problems! This pie does take a bit of time and effort, but it is well worth it. This is how to make gluten-free lemon meringue pie:
Gluten-free Lemon Meringue Pie
For the pastry
- 4 oz plain gluten-free flour
- 2 oz margarine
- 1 tsp beaten egg yolk
For the filling
- 3 large egg yolks minus the small bit used in the pastry!
- 2 oz caster sugar
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 1.5 oz margarine
- Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
For the meringue
- 3 egg whites
- 6 oz caster sugar
- Seive the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Lightly rub the flour and butter between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a few drops of water and begin to combine with a flat knife. Add a little bit of egg yolk and finish combining with your hands.
- Then wrap the pastry and put in the fridge for 30 mins.
- When chilled, roll out the pastry until it is just larger than the tin and press into the tin. Trim, pierce base with a fork and blind bake for 20 mins. Then remove from the oven and reduce oven temp. to 150oC.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon filling. Put the cornflour and sugar into a bowl and add just enough water to mix to a paste. Put 10fl oz of water into a pan with the lemon zest and bring to the boil. Then add to the cornflour and sugar, mixing continuously until smooth.
- Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice, and butter and return the whole mixture to the pan, heating until thickened. Pour into the pastry case.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar a little at a time. Spoon the meringue onto the filling and spread to seal the edges of the pastry case. Swirl the top as you like!
- Blind bake the crust: This helps create a barrier between the crust and the filling, preventing excessive moisture absorption.
- Use a lemon curd layer: Before adding the meringue, consider spreading a thin layer of lemon curd on the pre-baked crust. This acts as an additional barrier against moisture and adds extra lemon flavor to your pie.
- Ensure the filling is properly cooked and thickened before adding it to the crust.
- Seal the meringue: When spreading the meringue over the lemon filling, make sure it touches the crust’s edge. This helps create a seal that prevents moisture from getting to the crust.
- Let the pie cool gradually and store it properly.