People often write me, asking for a specific recipe or more of a particular kind of recipe. I always adore hearing from readers, but sadly I simply cannot get to everything I am asked for. Nothing is discarded though, as all requests dutifully go into my ‘one day’ file. This recipe for lemon meringue ice cream pie has its roots in a reader request for lemon meringue pie with a difference.
To ring the changes with lemon meringue pie, you can add some lime or granadilla, make mini ones in shot glasses, turn it on its head and put the meringue on the bottom pavlova-style… The options are pretty much endless. But I wanted to go one step further and combine all the elements and taste of a proper lemon meringue pie in what is essentially an ice cream cake. A lemon meringue pie Alaska of sorts. This is a bit of a high days and holidays showstopper, as all cake/pie type things tend to be. Apparently there is no beating a cake stand for creating an I-really-made-an-effort impression.
The beauty of this frozen lemon meringue delight is that you can make the biscuit base and lemon filling beforehand. Pop the little angel in your freezer for a day or two. When you want to serve, simply whip up an Italian meringue (there’s really nothing to be scared of here) to top the frozen lemon meringue and give it some blowtorch love for the pretty. Domestic goddess stuff sweetie-darling – and next to no effort.
All you need is…
1 packet Tennis biscuits (or any other sweet biscuit of your preference like digestives)
8 tbs melted salted butter
1 tin condensed milk
4 extra large free range eggs, separated
zest and juice of 3 large lemons
zest and juice of 2 limes
250ml fresh whipping cream
3 tbs castor sugar
5 tbs water
Blitz the biscuits in your food processor until finely crumbed. Add the melted butter and pulse to mix it through thoroughly. Spray a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the biscuit mix into the bottom and press to even out and compact. Pop it into a pre-heated 180 degree Celsius oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Start making the filling while your biscuit base bakes. Place the four egg yolks into a double boiler along with the condensed milk plus lemon and lime juice and zest. (If you don’t have a double boiler simply make one! Just pop the ingredients into a heat-proof bowl that fits neatly over one of your saucepans. Bring water to a simmer in the saucepan and fit the bowl over it, taking care that the bowl does not touch the water.) Now slowly cook the mixture while continuously whisking. The temperature must stay low and you need to whisk to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
The mixture will become light and fluffy and will be cooked through once the mix is so warm that it is uncomfortably hot when you stick your finger in. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Next whisk the cream with the castor sugar until firm. Carefully fold the cream into the egg mixture. Pour onto the prepared biscuit base and into the freezer it goes until set hard. (If you are making this pudding a day or two ahead of time, this is where you stop. Simply cover and refrigerate the egg whites until you use them.)
Now for the meringue topping. If you placed the egg whites in the fridge, bring them to room temperature. We’re making Italian meringue for this, not French, which means boiling hot melted sugar gets whisked in the egg whites, cooking them in a flash. If you’ve never made Italian meringue before, don’t fret. It’s fairly easy. Simply place the sugar and water in a saucepan and boil until the sugar is dissolved and it reaches 120 degrees Celsius on your sugar thermometer.
A few things need to happen at once, so I start whisking my egg whites in my Kenwood stand mixer as soon as the sugar reaches 100 degrees Celsius. By the time the sugar gets to 120 degrees, the whites should’ve reached stiff peak stage. That’s when you slowly pour in the boiling sugar, whisking all the time. Take care that you drizzle it down the side of the bowl and not on the whisk attachment to prevent splattering and burns. Keep whisking until the meringue is stiff, glossy and quite cool. This Italian meringue is quite stable, so will patiently wait while you de-mould the frozen lemon meringue. Tumble the Italian meringue onto the lemon meringue pie, use a spoon to make some peaks and brown the little darling with your blowtorch. Voila. Easy as pie.