The ICA Way

Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe courtesy of Mary D'Arcy
A smooth, sharp, citrus custard in a crisp pastry shell, topped with fluffy meringue, is surely one of the most mouthwatering desserts ever invented.

here are two schools of thought on where the lemon meringue pie originated, while its known that lemon has been used to flavour custards and deserts since Medieval times, meringue only became part of the culinary case-book in the 17the century. Some researchers credit Swiss baker Alexander Frehse with the earliest incarnation of the recipes in the 19th century. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Quaker movement had invented lemon curd in the 1700s, but it was immigrant Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow, a pastry chef and cookery school founder in Philadelphia who is credited as having invented the citrus dessert. Whatever the truth, you can’t argue with the appeal of this dessert. In fact, this dish is so popular in the US that August 15th is officially National Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Sieve flour, cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl, cut butter/margarine into small cubes and rub into flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. (This can be done in a food processor in seconds). Mix the egg yolk, lemon juice and water together, add to dry ingredients and mix well to form a firm dough. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Lightly grease an 8”/20cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Roll out the pastry to a circle about 2”/5cm wider than tin. Lift the pastry by draping over rolling pin and unroll it over the flan tin, level gently from the centre out and up the sides paying particular attention to the angle at base and sides. Trim away excess pastry and prick all over the base with a fork to allow any air escape. Cut a large circle of greaseproof paper and press into a tin and fill with dried peas/beans. Bake in a hot oven 200C (400F) or Gas 7 for 10-12 mins. Remove the peas/beans and paper and continue baking for 7-8 minutes until pastry is crisp and brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.

In a large measuring jug, blend the cornflour with lemon juice, add sugar and lemon rind and enough water to make up to 300ml. Pour into a small saucepan and cook gently until it thickens, remove from the heat and beat in the butter and egg yolks. Pour into the pastry shell.

In a clean, grease free bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff, whisk in half the sugar until firm and glossy. Sift the cornflour and remaining caster sugar together and gently fold into the meringue. Spread the meringue gently over the lemon filling, start at the edges and work in as this ensures the edges are sealed and the filling does not get pushed out to the edge. You can make the surface rough, smooth or spiked, whichever you prefer. Bake in a cool oven 150C, 300F or Gas 2 for 25-30 mins. This delicious lemon meringue pie can be served warm or cold and is best eaten on the day it’s baked.

Try Mary's recipe

Show us the results
Mary D’Arcy, Secretary, Wexford Federation

ur great recipe for lemon meringue pie comes courtesy of Mary D’Arcy, Secretary of the Wexford Federation. Mary has been a member of the Ballyfad Guild in North Wexford for over three decades and loves to bake. As an active member of ICA she has learned new crafts and skills with the ICA and has made many new friends all around the country. “This recipe for lemon meringue pie is lovely for a special treat, dessert or a party. I use a rich, sweet-pastry, which gives a nice crisp base to the finished dish. The fresh zingy taste of real lemon gives a mouthwatering taste so unlike the packet mix.”

What would you like to read next?