We have a prolific lemon tree in the garden and at the moment it’s branches are weighed down with an abundance of the golden yellow, deliciously fragrant orbs. It’s not a large tree, as far as fruit trees go, but each year we are blessed with more lemons than we can use and give them away in bags to family, friends and neighbours. I think lemon trees love the sandy soil we have in this part of Melbourne as they seem to do quite well – but it also lives next to the compost bin which may help explain it’s success.
Lemon season is my favourite season for cooking because there are so many wonderful lemon-involving recipes out there and lemon as a flavour is absolutely delicious! It is my very favourite flavour – don’t get me wrong, chocolate will always have a special place in my heart but I think because it is so readily available, not home-grown and not dependant on a season, it loses some of its specialness. Fresh and refreshing lemons from a tree in the back garden on the other hand are always wonderful.
I have a list of things I would like to make this lemon season to make the most of their zesty goodness, it’s a pretty long list! As that old saying goes ‘when life gives you lemons, make ALL the lemon things’ pretty sure that’s it…
Yesterday we started with my favourite Roast Chicken recipe and Lemon Meringue Pie – I adore Lemon Meringue Pie. We were supposed to be having a family dinner for 6 but it didn’t quite go according to plan so we were only 3 – more pie for us 😉
I’d love to share my lemon meringue pie recipe (in gluten free and non gluten free forms) with you and I hope you enjoy it! The best thing about this pie is that the only thing about it that contains gluten is the pastry crust so if you can change that then you have an entirely GF pie!
Lemon Meringue Pie
This recipe makes a decent sized pie that can serve 8-10 people.
The beauty of shortcrust pastry is you can make it up in a food processor, no need for kneading and you can make it a day ahead and pop it in the fridge – you can even make this recipe days in advance and freeze it then put it in the fridge to thaw out when you’re ready to use it – it’s an excellent option if you have limited energy and stamina but can do things in bursts.
To make this pie I used this pastry crust recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring – the recipe makes quite a bit of pastry and I used 3/4 of it for the pie. As is typical for gluten free baking, when cooked it didn’t brown up a huge amount. I don’t know whether it would if i cooked it longer or not, that requires future experimenting! The pastry will be quite firm when you take it out of the fridge so you may need to wait a little for it to warm up and be more usable – particularly if you have dodgy shoulders that like to give you migraines when you work them too hard (found that one out the hard way!).
Don’t worry, if you’re not gluten intolerant I have you covered too – here is my Grandma’s recipe for Sweet Shortcrust Pastry that I secretly suspect was just adapted from the PWMU (Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union) Cookbook because it’s quite similar but seeing as she submitted recipes to it that were then printed in some of the revised editions, who really knows! Do you have a PWMU cookbook? It’s a bit of an Australian institution with the first version printed in 1904 and the fourth edition/centenary version printed in 2004. CWMA cookbooks and Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks are also something pretty special – I have quite an AWW cookbook addiction…
- 1 cup Plain flour
- 1 cup Self raising flour
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup water
As with the GF pastry, pop the dry ingredients and butter in a food processor to mix up and add the water slowly until the dough is firm, together and leaving the sides of the mixer – not too much water of the dough will become too wet. Alternatively you could mix it up yourself in a bowl and then turn it out and knead it lightly but the food processor is so very handy! Pop in the fridge until you need it.
Our kitchen is a little limited for space, there are plans for a kitchen renovation and it will happen eventually, but for now I must work around the bowls of fresh produce!
- Once you’re ready to use the pastry preheat your oven to a moderately hot temperature (180 degrees C)
- Grease a 26cm pie dish
- Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper and ease it in to the pie dish – whoever thought of this is a genius because it means you don’t have to flour your rolling pin and pick bits of dough off it every now and then…
- Trim the edges so it sits neatly in the dish
- cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill the base with cooking weights – we use dried kidney beans and soup mix (the soup mix was added to pad out the beans when some were accidentally thrown out
- Bake with the beans in for 10 minutes then remove the beans
- Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until it browns up a bit (GF baked goods often don’t brown a huge amount or take a little longer because the flour works differently.
- Take it out and let it cool
- 3/4 cup cornflour
- 1 1/4 cup caster sugar (also known as confectioners sugar)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 egg yolks
- 80g butter
Combine the cornflour and sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Gradually add the lemon juice and water until all the flour and sugar is dissolved smoothly.
Place saucepan on heat and stir occasionally
Once the mixture starts to thicken and boil stir continuously – it will thicken around the edges and appear translucent
Continue to stir until all the mixture is thick and translucent and stops thickening up – by this stage it will be quite thick
Remove from heat and add in the egg yolks, butter and rind – stir until the butter is melted in and mixed through.
Allow to cool to room temperature before spooning into pastry crust
Meringue and finish!
- 4 egg whites
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
This will produce about 1 inch layer of meringue – next time I plan to rejig the meringue recipe to have extra meringue purely because there’s no such thing as too much meringue!
Preheat your oven to a moderate temperature, around 180 degrees
Using an electric hand beater, beat the egg whites in a medium sized bowl until they begin to form soft peaks
Slowly add the sugar, beating all the while until it is dissolved
When you have lovely, shiny, stiff peaks of meringue spoon it out on top of the filling, making sure it is all covered
Bake for 5-10 minutes until the meringue is browned lightly all over
Remove and take photos – well you have to, you have a fabulous pie to show off! It’s even better if you have recipe books around with pie photos you can stage your pie in front of, after all we’re totes professional cooks now, right 😉
And the pie needs a few minutes to stand so the meringue can firm up a little
Serve to your grateful houseguests and become a widely-acclaimed pie baker
I love how we managed to make the first slice right where the lemons are on the mixed fruit print on this pie dish! That was a happy coincidence I promise!