Mini Lemon Meringue Pies


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees fan


To make the pastry

If you have a food processor then pastry making is very quick. Place the flour, icing sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for just a few seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  If making by hand rub room temperature butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg yolk and water together then pour this over the flour whilst the machine is running and allow the dough to form into a ball. Take from the machine, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for at least half an hour.

Take from the fridge and roll out to about the thickness of a £1 coin. I roll out between two sheets of reusable plastic then no extra flour is required.  Using a 10cm cutter (4 inches) cut out 12 rounds and I use the end of my rolling pin to mould the pastry before lowering into the base of the muffin tin.

Chill the pastry shells for 10 minutes then line with the small baking cases and fill the cases with lentils.

Bake blind for 13-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Take from the oven and whilst still very hot lift out the paper cases and the lentils.  The pastry will lift out too and the shells should then be placed on a baking sheet.  When the shells have cooled slightly then the paper cases will lift out easily.  Have a look at your pastry shells – if they are under baked in any way and look dense and grey rather than golden – pop them back into the oven for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet to finish cooking.

To make the filling

Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Stir well until the lemon filling thickens. Whilst warm pour into the cooked pastry shells and leave them to cool completely.

To make the meringue

Place the two egg whites in a large clean, grease free mixing bowl. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and allow the sugar to dissolve over a low heat until you have a clear syrup.  Turn up the heat and allow the syrup to reach a temperature of 119 degrees c.

When the thermometer is reading 105 degrees start to whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form.   The sugar syrup will have now reached temperature and it is time to pour this in a steady stream over the whites.  Keep the whisks going the whole time.  Whisk continually until the meringue is shiny, standing in stiff peaks and is cool to the touch.  If the meringue is still warm it will collapse so whisk for about 5 minutes.

Load a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle (or nozzle of choice) and pipe over your lemon cups. Use a cooks blow torch to colour the meringue.

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