In my youth I did a bit of travel in South America and for some bizarre reason, lemon meringue pie was very popular. Sadly the versions I ate never lived up to the one my mum makes. Hers' bakes the meringue to a crisp golden brown, none of this fluffy shaving foam nonsense with a cheffy blow torched top. Here is a lime version taking influence from all the rum cocktails I drank in Belize
For the pastry:
225g plain flour
25g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
110g ice cold unsalted butter
For the filling and meringue:
4 heaped tbsp cornflour
275g caster sugar
5 juicy unwaxed limes
3 large eggs, separated into yolks & whites
To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a bowl and add the sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub lightly into flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a 2 tbsp of water and work into a soft pastry, if the mixture is too dry and not coming together add a tbsp of water at a time until you have a soft but not sticky ball of pastry. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in a fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and line a 10 inch, loose bottomed flan dish with the pastry. Cover the pastry with baking parchment and fill with ceramic baking beans or other dried beans (actually coins work just as well). Blind bake for 20 mins removing the paper and beans for the last 5 mins. The pastry case should look ‘dry’ and be golden – if not cook for a few mins more. Remove the pastry case and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.
In a bowl, mix the cornflour and water until combined, then add 200g of the sugar and the juice and zest of the limes. Transfer to a pan and on a really gentle heat, stir continuously until really thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two before stirring in the egg yolks. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff – you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out. Whisk in the remaining 75g of the sugar – the meringue should now look smooth and shiny.
Pour the lime mixture into the pastry case and spread out using a spatula. Then pile the meringue mix on top and roughly spread making peaks with your spatula as you go. Bake for 20 minutes until the meringue is crisp and golden brown all over. Serve with double cream or a good quality vanilla ice-cream.