• A raw tasting filling
• Meringue slipping off the filling and pulling away from the sides
• Meringue weeping sugary tears etc.
You will need
1 x 200 g pkt tennis biscuits
¼ cup (60 ml) butter, melted
2 x 397 g tins full cream sweetened condensed milk
½ cup (125 ml) boiling water
1 T (15 ml) grated lemon rind
½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 t (10 ml) cornflour
4 egg whites
2 t (10 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) castor sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) icing sugar
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Use a non-stick spray (this is one of the very few times that I use it) to spray the inside of a 22cm pie dish. Whiz the biscuits in a food processor to crumb them. Add the melted butter and blend very briefly until just mixed through.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish and spread out. Work the crumbs up the sides of the dish and flatten with the back of a tablespoon. Put in the freezer to firm while you prepare the filling (or prepare the day before).
Beat the condensed milk (use the boiling water to get every bit out of the tins), lemon rind, lemon juice, egg yolks and salt together until thoroughly mixed.
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling gently over the back of a spoon so as not to disturb the crumbs of the pie crust.
Bake the pie (without the meringue topping for 20 minutes). To make the meringue topping beat the egg whites in a spotless glass or stainless steel bowl until just beginning to foam. Add the lemon juice and beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Add the castor sugar, a spoonful at a time, while beating hard. Sift the icing sugar over in 3 batches and also beat it in hard.
The meringue mixture must now be stiff and shiny and be able to hold its shape. Remove the pie from the oven – sift the 2 t of cornflour over the filling (this acts as glue to hold the filling and the meringue together). Spoon the meringue over the hot filling in great big blobs – working right up and over the edge of the crust. Fluff the meringue up with a spatula and return the pie to the oven. Bake for another 25 minutes. Open the oven door 1cm, switch off the oven and leave the pie in the oven to cool down.
When the pie is cool, transfer it to the fridge to store. This will prevent ‘tears’ forming on the meringue as the air in the fridge is much drier than the regular atmosphere outside.