Lemon Meringue Pie

For a recent family tea I made my mum’s favourite dessert and it just so happens to coincide with this week’s pastry week on the Great British Bake Off.  This is a Mary Berry recipe that I found on the BBC food website and was the first time I’d made a lemon meringue from scratch.  The pie was delicious but unfortunatley did have rather a soggy bottom despite blind baking…oh well as a fellow blogger has said to me recently it’s the taste test that matters!!

What you need:

23cm loose bottomed pie/flan tin

For the pastryimg_2326
225g plain flour
45g icing sugar
175g butter
1 large egg, beaten

For the lemon filling
6 lemons, zest and juice
6 free-range egg yolks
250g caster sugar
65g cornflour

For the meringue topping
4 egg whites
2 tsp cornflour
225g caster sugar

What you do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c, grease and lightly flour your tin.

  • I used the dough hook on my freestanding mixer to make the pastry by putting the flour and butter in and mixing together until it resembled breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tbsp of water and mix again until ball shaped.

  • Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to approx 3mm. Transfer the pastry to the tin, easiest done using the rolling pin. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  • Take out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry.  Ideally you want your pastry to stand higher than the tin.

  • Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes.lemon-meringue-pie

  • Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170°c

  • Make the filling by mixing the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 450ml of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat. This happens really quickly…as soon as you add the mixture to the water it changes its consistency and appearance straight away.lemon-meringue-pie

  • In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.

  • Make the meringue by whisking the egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

  • Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. It’s nice to create a swirl on the top of the meringue.lemon-meringue-pie

  • Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is set and the meringue is lightly golden.

I’m pleased to say that the outside of the pastry case held its shape as did the bottom but it was just a bit soggy…with hindsight I think there was too much filling – oh hang on a minute, can you have too much filling!? 😉


Until next time….Happy Baking!


Soured Cream Pie

hummingbird bakery

This is a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home book; I love the photos in this book!

“We love baking with soured cream as it gives moisture and tang to so many desserts, balancing out the sweeteness.”


What you need:

1 x 23cm / 9″ pie dish

For the crustIMG_2219
110g / 4oz cold unsalted butter, diced
225g / 8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g / 3oz caster sugar
1 large egg

For the filling
4 large eggs
300g / 10.5oz caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
300g / 10.5oz soured cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

What you do:

  • Make the pastry crust by mixing the flour and butter together in a freestanding mixer until a fine crumb consistency
  • Add the caster sugar and mix
  • Add the egg until a dough is formed

Soured Cream Pie

  • Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface, form a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for 30-40 minutes
  • Once rested, roll out to approx 5mm thick, and line the pastry dish

Tip: Don’t trim the excess pastry too short as it shrinks away when baked (like mine)

  • Bake blind – preheat oven to 170°c, line the pastry with greaseproof paper and baking beans.  Bake for 10 minutes with beans and then for a futher 15-20 minutes without paper and beans.  Allow to cool.

Soured CreamPie

  • Make the filling by mixing together the eggs and sugar
  • Add the flour, lemon zest,  soured cream and vanilla.  Mix well until smooth.
  • Pour filling into prepared pie crust and bake for 35-40 minutes on 160°c or until filling set.  The filling should wobble slightly but not be watery.

Soured Cream Pie

  • Allow to cool and refrigerate until completely set.

I served my Soured Cream Pie with some fresh raspberries as the flavours complement each other.  I struggled to get the pie out of the loose based tin and when I did pastry bits shot everywhere; hence the brownish bits on top of the pie that I couldn’t shake off 😉

Soured Cream Pie

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Mary’s Religieuses

also known as miniature nuns is a technical challenge from the Great British Bake Off Everyday recipe book.  I baked these last weekend for a family tea.

This was the first time I’ve ever made choux pastry and this went rather well.  Quite often, my baking lacks something in presentation, but usually makes up for it in taste, however this time I was sure it was going to be the opposite as I had issues with the crème patisserie in that it was so lumpy I had to sieve it!!

I also think the recipe advises you to use too much chocolate, after decorating the Religieuses there was half a cereal sized bowl left over and they had been generously covered.

What you need:

You will need 1 large baking sheet, or 2 medium ones, lined with baking paper

For the choux pastry
60g unsalted butter, cubedIMG_2162
150ml water
75g plain flour
2 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

For the crème patissiere filling
500ml full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
6 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
20g cornflour
25g plain flour

For the chocolate ganache
150ml double cream
200g dark chocolate (about 36% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

For the collar
150ml double cream, well chilled

What you do:

Prep – heat your oven to 220°c.  Draw eight 5cm circles and eight 2.5cm circles on the paper lining the baking sheet

Make the choux pastry – put the butter and water into a heavy pan and heat over a medium heat until the butter has completely melted, then bring the mixture to the boil, taking care not to burn the butter. Remove from the heat and tip in the flour.   *note, at this point it looks like slop and you’ll think it’s all gone wrong…just keep stirring and then it just happens!

Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Set the pan back on low heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough.

From this >> to this!

From this >> to this!

Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth, shiny paste.

Spoon the choux dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube. Pipe discs inside the drawn circles on the baking sheet. Dip your finger in water and gently smooth the top of each disc. Place in the heated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until a good golden brown.

For once, my piping went rather well 🙂

choux buns

Remove the buns from the oven and pierce each one to allow the steam to escape. Return the choux buns to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes so they dry out. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Make the crème patissiere. Pour the milk into a heavy-based medium pan. Using the tip of a small knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds from the split pod and add to the milk. Slowly bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof mixing bowl and whisk together until pale, then add the cornflour and flour and whisk in. Continue to whisk as you pour on the hot milk in a thin steady stream. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly.

*I don’t know what happened here but my custard was horribly lumpy and I had to sieve it to make it usable

What you don't want!

What you don’t want!

Cook for 1 minute until smooth and thick. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the crème patissiere with clingfilm (this prevents a skin from forming). Leave to cool, then chill

Make the chocolate ganache by bringing the cream to the boil in a small pan, then remove from the heat. Add the pieces of chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, then cover and chill until the ganache has a thick coating consistency.

Assemble the religieuses by spooning the crème patissiere into a piping bag fitted with a long thin tube ( or use a jam or icing syringe) and fill the choux buns through the ‘steam hole’ made earlier.  It’s a good idea if the custard is quite thick otherwise it’ll just run out the holes when you fix together later…mine went everywhere!

This is a really messy bit >> dip the tops of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat them halfway up the sides. Set a small bun on top of each large bun.

choux buns

Whip the cream until it will stand in peaks. Spoon into the clean piping bag fitted with a star tube. Pipe a line of cream around the join where the two buns meet to form a white collar. Serve as soon as possible after assembling.

choux buns

Despite my previous worries, these actually were rather delicious and the family loved them.  In all honesty, they’re a faff and I’m not entirely convinced that spending 2-3 hours doing this for 9 buns was really worthwhile when you can pick up a pack of 12 profiteroles in Sainsbury’s* for a quid!

*other supermarkets are available 😉

Mary's Religieuses

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Apple Cake

I’ve been meaning to bake this pie ever since I got the Great British Bake Off Everyday recipe book and last weekend I made it for Mother’s Day lunch. There are a lot of steps to this recipe but it is worth the effort.

What you need:

For the pastryIMG_1963
300g plain flour
Pinch of salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 medium free range egg yolk
4 tbsp milk

For the filling
50g unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp caster sugar, + extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
850g dessert apples (about 8)

1 x 26cm pie plate or deep ovenproof plate

What you do:

> Make the pastry first by putting the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix.

> Add the pieces of butter and then run the machine to make bread crumbs.

> Add the lemon zest.

> Mix the egg yolk with the milk and then gradually add to the pastry mix. Mix till it forms a dough.

> Turn out the dough, flatten, wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.

Apple Cake

I used the dough hook on my freestanding mixer to make the pastry and it turned out brilliantly. Was the first time I’ve ever made pastry like that….so much easier and quicker!

> Now to make the apple filling; put the soft butter, sugar and lemon zest and juice in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until soft and creamy (quite hard work this!) It’s fine if it looks a little curdled, mine did. Set aside. Then, peel, core and thinly slice the apples.

Apple Cake

> Heat the oven to 190°c and put a baking sheet in the oven to warm.

> Lightly dust your work surface with flour. The recipe says cut off 1/3 of the pastry to use for the base of the pie but I had a good chunk left over at the end so I would suggest to use half.

> Roll out your pastry and then use the rolling pin to place in the pie dish. Leave the overhanging pastry for now.

> Arrange your apples in layers in the pastry case and dabs of the lemony butter between layers. Brush the rim with water.

> Roll out the remaining pastry to make the pie lid and place on top of the apples. Press down the edges to seal. Trim off any extra pastry with a sharp knife. Then scallop the edges (this was the hardest bit of the process, trying to interpret the recipe’s instruction without any photos, basically I made small cuts around the edges and then pinched them. I’ve no idea if that was right but it looked ok!).

Cut a small slit / steam hole in the pie top.

Apple Cake

> Use any remaining pastry offcuts to make pastry decorations: apples, leaves or whatever takes your fancy. Lightly brush with water to stick them on. Brush the pie with water and sprinkle with sugar.

Apple Cake

> Put the pie plate on the warmed baking tray, place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry starts to turn brown. After the 20 mins turn the oven down to 180°c and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.

Best served warm with custard, in my opinion, but I suppose you could have ice cream or cream 😉

This does have a very lemony flavour so if that’s not your thing you could easily leave it out.

Apple Cake

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Paul’s Egg Custard Tarts

Last week’s Bake Off episode was all things pastry so for my pastry challenge I baked Paul’s Technical Challenge Egg Custard Tarts from my Everyday Bake Off recipe book (page 238). Looks aside, I nailed it; no soggy bottoms here!  🙂


“One of the tests of a good baker; custard tarts sound plain and simple to make but require care and skill to achieve superb pastry cases – no holes or tears or soggy bottoms – and smooth creamy custard.”

What you’ll need:

1 x 12 hole non-stick muffin tray (the recipe didn’t say grease but I greased my tray to be on the safe side as I think it lost its non-stick capabilities a long time ago).

For the sweet pastry

165g plain flourIMG_1347
25g ground almonds
120g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
55g caster sugar
1 medium egg

For the custard filling

700ml full-fat milk
7 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
90g caster sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg

What you do:

To make the pastry mix the flour and ground almonds together and then add the butter, rubbing in so it looks like breadcrumbs.

Egg Custard TartsStir in the sugar. Add the egg and mix to form a soft dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, shape into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes.

Egg Custard TartsRoll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thickness (mine were about 3mm thick and fine). Recipe suggests an 11cm fluted cutter but mine was smaller and again perfectly adequate. Gently press into the muffin moulds; the pastry should sit slightly higher. Chill the pastry cases while you make the custard.

Egg Custard tartsHeat the oven to 200°c. To make the custard, gently warm the milk until just below boiling. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a heatproof bowl until creamy. Pour the warm milk into the yolk mixture in a thin steady stream stirring constantly to make a smooth liquid. Pour into a jug with a good pouring lip.

(Admission!! I didn’t read the recipe properly and used all the egg not just the yolk, ooops! This may be why my custard was quite thin and didn’t seem to thicken as I poured the milk into the egg. It didn’t make any difference to the end result  though, still set and was yummy).

Egg Custard TartsCarefully pour the custard into the pastry cases and sprinkle the centre of each tart with a good pinch of nutmeg. Bake for about 15 minutes on 200 and then turn down to 180°c for a further 10 minutes.

Egg Custard TartsThe tarts are done when the custard has a wobble and is slightly domed. Too much dome = overdone and boiling. If yours overdome, place the tray in a tray of cold water and they will settle without sinking.

Leave to cool for approx 30 minutes before attempting to remove from the tray.

My overall evaluation!

I couldn’t find my muffin tray so ended up using a regular shallow baking tin that you’d make jam tarts in = not very deep custard tarts. However, served the purpose!

I’d also used half the ingredients again which made 9 shallow pastry cases but there was a huge excess of custard though. But you know what they tasted delicious, just as good as any custard tart you buy in Greggs 🙂

Egg Custard Tarts