For just such an occasion

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Sometimes we celebrate occasions, and sometimes we make an occasion by celebrating. Dessert is a lovely thing, especially when its been made by friends, with friends and for sharing with friends.

This weekend Sonya and I got baking, this is a tried and true Women’s Weekly recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie. My mum was very delighted that when she made it for the first time she truly felt her pie was as beautiful as the one in the cookbook. She has continued to make it in a similar manner and I was pretty excited to be able to accomplish the same this weekend!

Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoons icing sugar
185g butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Filling:
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons corn flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups water
90g butter
4 egg yolks

Meringue:
4 egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
2. Sift flour and icing sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
3. Chop the butter into cubes and rub through the dry ingredients with your finger tips till a texture similar to that of fine breadcrumbs is achieved.
4. Add the lemon juice and water and stir through till a smooth dough forms.
5. Roll into a ball and cover. Put in the refrigerator to make it easier to work with (ideally 30 minutes, we did about 10 and it was okay, probably 15-20 would be good!).
6. Roll the pastry out on a floured bench or between two layers of baking paper till it is about 6-7mm thick. Transfer (with paper or rolling pin) to the pie dish (the ones with a push through base are great but just watch you don’t push through too early!). Ensure you press the pastry into the corners and don’t cut it off too low (it does not shrink much but its nice to have a full crust of pastry).
7. Dock with a fork (make little holes in the base of the pastry) and bake for 8-10 minutes or just cooked and golden. Do not over cook as you will be cooking it again later!
8. Set aside and allow the pastry to cool in the tin.
9. Zest the lemon (grate the rind off the skin) and then juice the flesh.
10. Place the flour, corn flour, lemon rind, juice, water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, blend well while the mixture is cool so as to avoid lumps later on.
11. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring all the while. It must boil to activate the thickening power of the cornflour!
12. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat and continue stirring the mixture for another 2 minutes.
13. Remove the saucepan from the heat, continue stirring and add the butter … stir it into the hot mixture and it will melt and turn the mixture a slightly darker shade of yellow.
14. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring that each has been thoroughly combined into the mixture.
15. Allow the filling to cool slightly before pouring into the pastry case, ensure it is evenly distributed and smooth on top (use a pallet knife or spatula).
16. To make the meringue, the egg whites need to be beaten in a medium-large mixing bowl. They should be beaten till they form soft peaks, then the sugar can be added gradually, continue beating the mixture till sugar dissolves after each addition and a thick meringue is produced!
17. Spread the meringue attractively over the filling and bake till lightly browned (about 8-10 minutes for me).
18. Cool and then refrigerate for serving later on.
19. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or cream, some strawberries would also be delicious!

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