‘Tropical’ Lemon Meringue Pie

The inspiration was Mary Berry’s lemon fudge cake, a tasty variation on lemon meringue pie which I made GF and for a larger tin.

My crust is gluten-free and dairy-free; my filling has a few more tropical notes; and I also substituted crumbled French meringue for added crunch. So, it’s a bit different. 🙂

Serves: 12 – 16


Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 100g gluten-free flour
  • 40g porridge oats
  • 65g ground almonds
  • 65g finely chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons maple, agave, or golden syrup; runny honey will do as well
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 3 large eggs (they should total 190g – 200g when weighed in their shells)
  • 165g caster sugar (golden is preferable, but white will suffice)
  • 360ml double cream (370g if weighing)
  • 65g cornflour, to be sifted in
  • 10g desiccated coconut nibs
  • 3 unwaxed lemons, all of grated zest and 2/3 juice
  • 1 unwaxed lime, juice only (use grated zest for topping)

For the topping:

Kit

  • A deep-sided, round, loose-based, non-stick tart/flan or pie tin
    (at least 5cm deep and about 24cm in diameter)
  • 1 large and 1 medium mixing bowls
  • An electric mixer (hand-held or stand) – it’s possible to use a manual whisk if you prefer
  • A sieve for the cornflour
  • Cooling rack
  • An oven-safe plate

Steps
Making the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
  2. Mix the crust ingredients together in a medium bowl with a fork until fully moistened and combined. Press the mixture into the tart/pie tin with your hands, ensuring it’s thin, even, and goes at least 3/4 up the sides. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to ensure it isn’t too thick there. Prick the bottom and sides – including around the bottom edge – all over lightly with a fork (it will puff up if you don’t), and place in the oven.
  3. Bake for around 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.

Making the filling:

  1. When the crust is out of the oven, whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl on low speed. They’ll quickly become frothy.
  2. Add the cream, sifted-in cornflour, coconut, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lime juice. Continue whisking on low speed until fully combined, a minute or two.
  3. Pour the filling into the crust, and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until it’s firmly set and a pale golden brown colour. Turn the tin (carefully!) halfway through for even baking. Remove from the oven and set to cool on a cooling rack. (If you need, the pie can rest in the fridge for up to 2 days very successfully.)

Making the topping:

  1. Turn off the oven. Spread the grated lime zest on an oven-safe plate, breaking up any clumps, and put into the oven (door ajar) while it cools.
  2. Sprinkle the top of the just-baked pie with the coconut nibs (they’ll stick better to a warm filling).
  3. Follow the steps in my French meringue recipe to make a one-fourth batch (4 to 6), but you want them crispy all the way through – so as per the footnote over there: “Turn off the oven after 1 hour and 15 minutes, and leave them in the oven until fully cooled.”
  4. Sprinkle the dried lime zest over the top of the fully cooled pie, then crumble the baked meringues over. Drop the tin side (sit it on an upturned glass), slide off the base, and serve.

Toasted Coconut
If you like, you can dry-fry the coconut nibs for the topping in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes on a low heat. Keep stirring so all nibs toast evenly to a pale golden colour.

Preparation Notes
I’m a firm fan of making French meringues, letting them cool, and putting them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Honestly, they keep wonderfully well – they defrost perfectly. When ready to make the pie, just take some meringues out of the freezer the night before; make/bake the crust and filling the next day, then crumble the defrosted meringues over the cooled pie.

I’ve also suggested elsewhere to use crumbled meringue as a cake topping, but it has skads of uses for adding crunch and sweetness to many things, including ice cream (home-made or not).

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