Or Ferengi Pie as Mr G has christened it. Or Delicious Traffic Accident which is what it turned out to be in practical terms. Let's call it LMP for short.
I got Mary Berry's Baking Bible out of the library last week and have had an itch to make LMP ever since. I have no idea why - I think I've eaten LMP perhaps 3 times in my entire life (including now) - but I had an urge to bake, and the method was intriguing, and y'know, some times you just have to do these things...
Lemon Meringue Pie from Mary Berry's Baking Bible
175g/6oz digestive biscuits
397g/14oz can of condensed milk
3 large egg yolks (I used 4 medium)
finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons
3 large egg whites (I used 4 medium)
175g/6oz caster sugar
20cm/8"deep fluted flan tin
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/gas 5.
Put the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press into the flan dish and leave to set.
Pour the condensed mile into a bowl, then beat in the egg yolks, lemon rind and strained lemon juice. The mixture will seem to thicken on standing, then loosen again as soon as it is stirred. This is caused by the combination of condensed milk and lemon juice and is nothing to worry about. Pour the mixture into the biscuit-lined dish.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whisking will between each addition. Whisk until very stiff and all the sugar has been added.
Put separate spoonfuls of meringue over the surface of the filling then spread gently to cover the filing to the biscuit edge, lightly swirling the meringue.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is light brown. leave to cool for about 30 minutes before serving warm.
Well, for starters, I have to say double yum! It comes out tasting like a really good lemon cheesecake and not half as sickly sweet as the condensed milk might lead you to believe. But (and there are always 'buts' with me as you've probably come to realise by now)...
I left it in for 20 minutes and the filling wasn't set in the middle. Mr G, being a part-time greedy guts, had a slice anyway and put it in the microwave (no (sigh), there was no telling him) which made it come out looking like soup but proclaimed it delicious despite. I think it was a combination of having the oven a wee bit too hot (so the meringue was definitely brown when I took it out), the insulative effects of the meringue and not long enough in the oven (but how was I to know? It's not the sort of thing you can stick a skewer into!). So I put it back in the oven (at 50C for an hour, but only because we were engrossed in NCIS dvds) and that solved the filling problem.
The unsolvable problem was the biscuit base. I've made these plenty of times for cheesecake bases but I don't think I've ever baked one before. The taste was fine but it came out really soggy and was really difficult to cut cleanly or get off the flan tin, hence the traffic accident description. Was that me? was it the biscuits? the oven? I dunno. The only thing I can think of that might have improved it was to have put the flan tin on a pre-heated metal sheet when it first went into the oven - that might have encouraged a crisper base. But other than that, I don't know how it could have been improved.
All in all though, it was highly edible. So much so that I had two slices after lunch, which probably means I've had my entire calorific intake for the rest of the month now. Haven't had the courage to work out the WW Points yet either - I bet it will be at least 3 zillion Points a portion*.
So even if I never make LMP again, I think I would definitely use the filling recipe, perhaps on top of a sponge base. It was really tangy and delicious; it made me think of a good home-made lemon curd. And LMP will forever be referred to as Ferengi Pie here at Stash Mansions, but it will probably taste a whole lot better than your average Ferengi.
ps. Just wanted to mention: when I give you a recipe from someone's recipe book, I always reproduce the instructions as they are in the book (hence the sometimes annoying phraseology) but of course, when it's from my own recipe book, you get me (hence the probably sparse instructions or annoying phraseology (depending on how you look at things)).
* (added 20-09-10) ohmigod! I just calculated the WW Points and for a 1/6th portion, there are 13½ points. THIRTEEN AND A HALF!!! It'll be lettuce and water for me for the rest of the week then.