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Lemon Meringue

by James Morton

This recipe is one that will not let you down. It is a classic; it was passed down the generations of my family and has finally ended up here with me.

Prep time

2 hours and 50 minutes

Cook time

1 hour






Step 1

First, preheat your oven to 180C and grease 4 wee tart tins (or one big pie tin).

Step 2

Weigh out your flour in a bowl and then add your butter. Rub them together, passing your thumbs across your fingers like a washboard, until the whole bowl is the consistency of breadcrumbs. You can use an electric mixer or food processer here.

Step 3

Add your egg yolk and 1 Tbsp of water and combine into a dough. If it’s not coming together, add a touch more water, but be careful – too much water is the easiest route to a bad pastry.

Step 4

Roll out your pastry with a bit more flour until it is about 1⁄2cm thick, and cut circles a little bigger than your tins. If you find you don’t have enough in the first roll, just bunch up and roll out again.

Step 5

Press these circles down into your tins, prick them all over with a fork and lay some baking paper on top. Weigh this down with some baking beans, coins or uncooked rice.

Step 6

Bake your pastry for about 10 minutes, then remove your baking paper and weight (at this point you can patch up holes with leftover pastry), and bake a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Step 7

Whilst the pastry is in the oven, make the filling. Do this by combining your corn flour and caster sugar with your juice, zest and water mix in a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and keep whisking it – once it has gone all thick and gloopy, remove from heat and stir in the butter until it is combined. Then, stir in the eggyolks and egg and return to the heat, always whisking. Keep whisking until it is noticeably thicker again, or about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Step 8

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a very clean, dry bowl until light and fluffy. Then, use a teaspoon to add the sugar one spoon straight after the other, until it is all combined. It helps hugely to use an electric mixer.

Step 9

Once the pastry cases are ‘blind baked’, we’re ready to go. Distribute your filling between your cases, then spoon meringue on top, making it into a swirl. Bake in your oven for 10-15 minutes until golden on top. 


Top Tips:

  • The pastry can be made well in advance and rested in the fridge for days this will actually improve it! Don’t worry, the egg white won’t go off.
  • For a soft meringue, bake for a short time at a high temperature. For a crisp meringue, bake very slowly at a lower temperature.



For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g Graham’s unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 egg yolk (keep the white for the meringue)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cold water

For the lemon filling:

  • 20g cornflour (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons, diluted up to 200ml with water
  • 100g Graham’s unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks plus one whole egg