Serves 6-8 (20cm wide, 3cm deep, straight-sided flan ring with a removable bottom; if not use a buttered, bottomless flan ring on a buttered tray)
- 90g unsalted butter
- 45g sugar
- Grated rind of 1/2 lemon (reserve the juice)
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 180g plain flour
- flour for dusting
- 100g butter
- Grated rind of 2 lemons ( not more, they add bitterness, watch out)
- Juice of 3 lemons (2 grated above, and 1 for the pastry)
- 225g sugar
- 8 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
- 2tbsp ground almonds
- 120ml double cream
- 3 egg whites
- 90g caster sugar
First make the pastry.
- In a food processor, mixer or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together with the lemon zest until smooth.
- Slowly add the beaten egg, scraping the sides of the bowl every so often if you are using a mixer, until they are mixed well.
- Slowly fold in the flour and mould the dough into a ball.
- Lightly grease a flan ring.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured table until it’s about 3mm thick, then lay it into the flan ring. The best way to do this is to roll the pastry around the rolling pin then unroll it over the flan ring and ease the pastry into the ring with your hands.
- Press the pastry firmly into the corners of the flan ring and patch up any holes by pinching the pastry together, or by patching in some of the excess pastry. This pastry is quite forgiving and a bit of patchwork won’t be noticeable once it’s cooked.
- Roll the rolling pin across the top of the flan ring to trim off the excess pastry, then neaten up the edges by going round and pinching them with your thumb and forefinger.
- Leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
- Remove from the stove and beat in the lemon rind and juice, sugar, egg yolks, almonds and double cream.
- Return to the stove and stir on a low heat until it thickens, but don’t let it boil.
- Remove from the heat, give a final stir and cover with clingfilm to stop it forming a skin.
Bake the shell
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350F).
- Line the flan ring with a large disc of greaseproof paper or foil and fill with baking beans.
- Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, or until lightly coloured, then remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
- Reduce the oven to gas mark 150° (300F).
Bake the pie
- Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and pour in the lemon filling.
- If you have too much, save to have as lemon curd on toast.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until just set
- remove from the oven
- increase the temperature to 220°C (425F).
Finish with the topping
- Clean a stainless-steel mixing bowl and whisk (preferably electric) with boiling water and dry with a clean cloth to remove any traces of grease.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff then add the sugar and continue whisking until they are stiff and shiny.
- Spoon the mixture on to the filling and return to the oven for about 3-5 minutes until lightly browned.
Allow to cool and eat at room temperature within 24 hours.