First, let me say – this was a practice!
I have wanted to make this dish for a while, and was actually waiting for a blowtorch (which I have not so secretly let it be known I would like for Mothers’ Day) but today just felt like a lemon meringue pie day to me. So here it is. It will be the second time I’ve had lemon meringue pie this week – sinful!
I’m going to start off all grumpy. I am so fed up with gelatine manufacturers! All I want is someone to write on their packets what strength the gelatine is, and it seems impossible. I googled, I went to the manufacturers website, I even got someone else to read the packet it case it was domestic blindness. It seems I’m not the only person to suffer gelatine rage…just google it! And the mathematical equation I was given to work out what strength gelatine was not going to work – being numerically challenged anything that involves square root calculations was going to throw me into a meltdown. So today I’ve used the Gelita sheet gelatine and I hope it’s gold strength, otherwise the curd is either going to be like a rubber bullet or won’t keep its form when it’s plated up. So, it’s just as well this is just a run of the mill Sunday dinner, or I’d be stressing!
I made the crumb first – which is sort of like shortbread crumb, which you bake AS a crumb. As I’m typing this, I can look over the kitchen bench and see a lamington tray full of delicious golden crumbs containing almond meal, butter, sugar and flour. I’ve already sneaked a few and they taste really good! The leftovers will keep for a little while in an airtight container, so maybe if I don’t eat them all in the next week or so, I might be able to utilise the new blowtorch and not have to make the crumb part of the recipe again.
The lemon curd is a cinch. I make it regularly in the thermomix, using the recipe from the Everyday Cookbook. It makes the quickest, easiest lemon tart ever – it’s become a family favourite in this house! This recipe is richer in its egg content and because this is only a practice run, I used frozen egg yolks that I had on hand. I’d frozen them before I knew the trick about freezing yolks, so they were a little bit thick, so I just blitzed the curd at the end of cooking for about 20 seconds to break up any big egg-yolky bits. We’ll see if that works once I taste it later on.
I’m not going to make the meringue until I am just about to serve it… but I’m nervous! The only thing that I’m never fond of is beating egg whites in the thermomix – I usually use my hand held electric beater for it. The electric beater is the only appliance I still have in my kitchen since I bought my thermomix, and it gets an airing only occasionally. You know how egg whites can be temperamental at the best of times? I’m just scared I won’t have cleaned something properly and the egg whites will collapse, but as this is the test run, I’m going to be brave and try it. And guess what? It worked perfectly. This is an Italian Meringue, so it’s cooked, then piped, and then either grilled or blowtorched. I did make sure that the thermomix bowl was really, really clean before I put the egg whites in, and I think that definitely helped. I’ve seen that in Dani’s pavlova recipe, they actually recommend cleaning the bowl before you start.
The meringue was a hit. One family member who shall remain nameless was seen piping the left over meringue straight into his mouth from the piping bag. And there was a fight over the big bits of the crumb…so I guess you could class this recipe as a success!
When I make it again with my new blowtorch, I’ll be a bit more careful about the size of the tray I pour the lemon curd in to, or use a smaller shape to cut out the curd. I wasn’t thinking and although I cut my shapes close together, I could only get 4 of the scone cutter shapes out of my 20×20 cm square tin. If I needed more than 4 serves, I would have been stuck, so make sure you check what size cutter you’re using and the shape of the dish you’re going to pour your lemon curd in to.
As for the lemon curd, I could still see little bits of yolk flecked through the mix, so next time I’ll use fresh egg yolks. It tasted fine. I’ll also use a little less of the gelatine, as it was an ok consistency, but I would have preferred something a little less firm. I’m not sure if blitzing the curd at the last minute to get rid of the egg yolky bits added too much air, but next time I’ll bang the dish with the curd in it a few times on the bench before I popping it in the fridge, as mine was a little bubbly.
When I make it for real next time, I’ll also make a raspberry coulis to serve with it, for some added colour on the plate.