These school free days I'm planning some cooking firsts. Makin' pastry. Makin' pasta. Makin' bread. Mmm, carbs - my favourite flavour. Not without a little help from my friends, though, and this week I thought it would be a good chance to take Frankie out and about and see how she cooks.
Frankie's Aftertoon Tea is a lovley book shaped around a lovely concept. Recipes practised, tweaked and loved by generations are presented for your baking pleasure among beautiful photographs and sweet stories of afternoon teas with mums and grandmas.
I'd never made - nor, I confess, eaten - Lemon Meringue Pie, but it looked awfully pretty, so I put my dinner party guests at risk and gave it a go. It turned out rather well (despite a tense and somewhat masterchef moment where I was convinced it wasn't set on the inside) so I thought I'd present the recipe for you here, with some tips and tricks gleaned along the way, and a whole hearted reccomendation of the book.
- 70g SR flour
- 130g plain flour
- 120g cold butter, cubed (I used Lurpak - delish)
- 1 large happy free range egg
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp butter
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- 3 egg whites
- 4 tbsp sugar
What You Will Need to Do:
Let's start by making the pastry. First step: don't be scared. If you have a food processor, it's the easiest thing in the world. Even if you don't, I imagine it would still be very simple, just slightly messier!
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Combine your sifted flours, sugar and butter in a food processor. Blend until it looks like fine, soft breadcrumbs.
- Add egg and continue to process until the the mixture comes together in a ball. This might take a little while - don't take it out to soon, it will come together. Just keep hittin' that pulse button. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
- Roll out your dough on a well floured surface, until it fits a 22cm pie dish. Don't stress if it's a bit crumbly.
- Gently transfer into your dish, patch up any cracks and trim the edges.
- Blind bake for ten minutes, remove rice or weights and bake for a further ten or fifteen minutes, or until lightly coloured. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Combine sifted flours and sugar in a small saucepan.
- Add the lemon juice and one cup of boiling water, stirring well to combine.
- Cook until it thickens, probably 5 to 10 minutes. Remember to keep stirring - I was somewhat distracted by visitors at this point, and it got a little bit lumpy. Luckily, I did what Simon Bryant always does when things go a bit wrong: strain it and hope for the best.
- Add egg yolks, rind and butter. Stir well. Poor into your (mostly) cool pastry.
- Beat egg whites until stiff
- Gradually add sugar, and beat until thick and fluffy.
- Pile it on top of the filling, use spatula to swirl into pretty patterns, thusly:
Warm in the oven until brown on top, and enjoy with ice cream and friends.
I didn't manage to get a photo of it cut open - we got stuck in a little too quickly for me to intrude with awkward photo taking (interupting dinner to take photos is the curse of the food blogger). You'll have to trust me when I say it was simply lovely, and that my grandma would approve.