That’s Meringue as in merr-ing-gyoo, y’hear?
It was our first time. I was a little nervous; when dealing with substances with the consistency of egg whites, we all know how quickly you can end up with a bun in the oven instead of just a hot piece o’pie, you know what I mean?
A lemon meringue always looked particularly complicated, all the layers, and crusts and I aren’t the best of friends yet. Flaky, to say the least… but this recipe from Fresh Living‘s little fast ‘n slow booklet was amazingly simple and accurate. I swear, it looked almost identical to the picture on the page! I love it when that happens; you know they ain’t using no fancy tricks and gadgets your poor wooden spoon would never live up to.
No gebakte pere, just a gorgeous blonde tart – like me.
1 packet of tennis biscuits
1/2 cup of melted butter
3 egg yolks
rind and juice of 4 lemons
1 can of condensed milk
3 egg whites
2/3 cup of castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Finely crush the tennis biccies in your food processor, or by putting them in a bag and smashing it against the counter. This is also a lot more fun. Mix finely crushed biscuit bits with the butter. Flatten into a pie dish and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Resist the urge to eat the yummy smelling crust.
Then… beat your egg yolk and lemon juice and rind until its pale and thick. Seriously, mine never got thick. Frothy, yes, but not thick. But once you add that all important tin of condensed milk – the stuff kids’ dreams are made of – it will become thick. Problem solved.
Pour said thick yellow gloop into the pie dish on top of the crust.
Then… okay there’s a trick to meringue. Jamie Oliver was on the telly JUST when I was making this baby, and he was making meringue! Freaky, I know. He says older eggs make better meringue. It’s true: the egg whites are thicker. Also, pour the sugar in gradually while beating whites and vanilla. Put the sugar in your hand and use a loosely closed fist to let the sugar stream in slowly. It looks real sexy too. So basically, beat your egg whites, sugar and vanilla until softish peaks form. Mine weren’t soft or stiff, just perfectly in-between, and this worked for me.
Spoon the meringue on top of yellow gloop and make loving, swooshing movements with your spoon, like you’re a happy French housewife with nothing else to do. It will make pretty peaks and troughs – another thing I learnt from Jamie.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, let it cool. Decorate with some rind and serve.