Lemon Meringue Pie is such a classic bake and it's a great one to have in your repertoire! It combines lots of baking skills so it's great for learning different techniques too. This Lemon Meringue Pie starts with a sweet shortcrust pastry base, it's filled with a thick and super zingy lemon curd, and on top is beautiful pillow soft italian meringue.
I much prefer italian meringue on top of a lemon meringue pie, it's got such a fabulous texture plus it's a great excuse to get the kitchen blowtorch out! If you are not confident with pastry then you can of course use shop bought for the base - I won't judge! You could even cheat more by filling it with shop bought lemon curd (please get the best quality one you can find though!) so all that's left to do is make the meringue topping.
The photos and recipe for this post were updated in February 2021.
How to make Lemon Meringue Pie
To start, make the pastry. Using your fingers, rub butter into a mix of plain flour and caster sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add milk and bring it together into a dough.
Roll out the pastry on a silicone mat using a rolling pin dusted with a little flour, then line a 9" tart tin tin with the pastry and trimmed the edges. Chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Scrunch up some baking paper and line the pastry, then add baking beans. Bake it for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, then bake for another 10 minutes.
To make the lemon filling, melt the butter in a pan on a low heat along with the lemon juice, lemon zest and caster sugar. In a mixing bowl, whisked together the cornflour, eggs and egg yolks. Once the lemon juice and butter mixture is melted together, pour it into the egg mixture, then pour everything back into the pan.
Heat the mixture on a medium heat, and stir it continuously until it thickens. Then sieve it into a jug, whisk in the double cream and pour it into the pastry base.
Then put the tart back in the oven for 8 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge.
To make the italian meringue, start with the sugar syrup. Put caster sugar and water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If you notice any sugar around the edges of the pan, brushe them away with a wet pastry brush. In a stand mixer, whisk up the egg whites and cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage.
Pour the sugar syrup into a jug, and keeping the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool and the meringue has a fluffy texture and is white and shiny. Then dollop the meringue on top of the pie using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture. Use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over.
Can you use shop bought pastry for Lemon Meringue Pie?
Yes! You can either buy a block of shortcrust pastry and roll it out, or a ready rolled out sheet. Then follow the same steps to baking it (a process called blind baking). Or you can even buy a ready baked tart shell, just make sure it is 9" in diameter as that is the tart size this recipe is designed for.
How should you store Lemon Meringue Pie and how long does it last?
The lemon meringue pie is best eaten the day it's made. Or you can make and assemble the pastry and lemon filling, then make the meringue fresh the next day. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat within 2 days. I do not recommend freezing it.
Can you make this recipe with french meringue?
Yes! Instead of using a sugar syrup to cook the egg whites, french meringue is cooked in the oven and has a crispy outer shell and a chewy centre. To do this you will need to whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time while the mixer is still running. Once the sugar is all added, keep whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Dollop it on top of the lemon filling and place in the oven for around 15-20 minutes on 160C.
Tips for making the Lemon Meringue Pie:
- If you don't have baking beans for the blind baking process, you can use dry rice or any dried beans, then dispose of them afterwards.
- If you can't find golden caster sugar for the lemon filling, you can use regular caster sugar.
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- 9" tart tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Baking beans
- Rolling pin
- Silicone mat
- Kitchen blowtorch
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More lemon meringue recipes...
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 100 g Butter
- 200 g Plain flour
- 50-60 ml Milk
- 1 tbsp Caster sugar
- 165 ml Lemon juice
- 1 Lemon zest only
- 135 g Golden caster sugar (or regular caster sugar)
- 2 Eggs large
- 3 Egg yolks
- 115 g Butter
- 1 tbsp Cornflour
- 30 ml Double cream
- 3 Egg whites
- 170 g Caster sugar
- 95 ml Water
- ½ tsp Cream of tartar
- To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour and caster sugar using your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs, you could also do this in a food processor
- Add the milk a little at a time (you may not need it all, or you may need a little bit more as all flours absorb differently) and bring the mixture together into a dough
- Roll the pastry out on a work surface or silicone mat dusted with flour, and line a 9" loose bottomed tart tin with it, trim the edges and prick the bottom all over with a fork
- Put the pastry in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 5
- Scrunch up some baking paper, then flatten it out again and place it over the pastry, then add baking beans or some dry rice on top. Bake it for 15 minutes
- Take the pastry out of the oven and remove the baking beans and paper. Bake the pastry again for 10 minutes on the same temperature, or until golden and it no longer looks raw on the base
- To make the lemon filling place the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and golden caster sugar in a pan and melt them together on a low heat
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue) and the cornflour
- Once the butter has melted into the lemon juice mixture, pour the mixture slowly into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour
- Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and heat it on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until it thickens up, keep stirring it during this time
- Once it is thick, sieve the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug, then stir in the double cream
- Pour the lemon filling into the pastry case. Put it into the oven on 160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 5-8 minutes, until it has a slight wobble to it. Then leave it to cool completely
- To make the Italian meringue put the caster sugar and the water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If you notice any sugar around the edges of the pan, brush them away with a wet pastry brush. If you like, you can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature and when it reaches 115C/240°F it's ready
- In a stand mixer whisk up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage (when the meringue is foamy and doesn't hold it's shape). Pour the sugar syrup into a jug, and then keeping the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Be careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl
- Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool and the meringue holds it's shape well and is glossy, then dollop the meringue on top of the pie using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture. Finally use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in the fridge for 2 days