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Cookery: Sweet and lemony

06 May 2009

by Deanna Baynes

FOR ME, the best English traditional pudding is lemon meringue pie. I made one the other day, and thought how tangy and lemony it tasted, because I made my own lemon curd.

Lemon meringue pie

For the pastry:
225g (8 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
150g (5 oz) unsalted cold butter, diced
75g (3 oz) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 whole large egg
1 × 20cm (8-inch) loose-bottom
flan tin

For the curd (this makes two jars):
5 large unwaxed lemons
4 large eggs
120g (4½ oz) unsalted butter
450g (1 lb) caster sugar
1 heatproof bowl to sit on a
saucepan of hot water

Meringue topping:
225g (8 oz) caster sugar
4 large egg whites (use the yolks for the pastry and curd)

Put the cold butter and flour in the food mixer, and whizz. Add the salt, egg yolk, and whole egg, and whizz again for a second. Cover this with cling film, and put it in the fridge for half an hour. Put the oven on at 180°C/­350°F/gas mark 4.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board, and line the flan tin with it. Place a circle of greaseproof paper over the pastry, and fill the case with dried beans. Rest it again in the fridge for half an hour, then blind-bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

To make the curd, wash the lemons and grate the zest into a bowl, then squeeze the juice and mix with the zest. Beat the whole eggs with the three yolks left over from the topping, and add to the juice; then add the butter and the sugar. Let the bowl sit on a saucepan of hot water, but do not let the bowl touch the water. Stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens — it takes about 10 minutes. Remove the paper from the flan tin, and fill the pastry with the curd.

Reduce the heat of the oven to almost the lowest number — 120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. In a spa­cious bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, and gradually add the sugar a spoon at a time, between whisking, until it looks glossy and firm. Spread this mixture over the lemon curd, and put the flan in the oven for about 45 minutes. The top will brown, and the white will be firm.

Scotch pancakes (makes six)
350g (12 oz) self-raising flour
75g (3 oz) sultanas and raisins
60g (2½ oz) blueberries
40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter
225ml (7½ fl oz) milk
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
butter or oil for frying
½ teaspoon salt

Sift the flour into a bowl. In another bowl, pour the milk. Melt the butter, add it to the milk, and add the eggs, sugar, and salt. Slowly add the flour, whisking all the time, and add the fruit.

Heat a saucepan with the butter and oil, pour in one dessertspoon of the mixture to make one pancake. It will spread and bubbles will appear. Turn it over. It should take about two minutes for each pancake. Spread each one with curd.

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