When it comes to meringue pies nothing can challenge the supremacy of the lemon variety. But this alternative version using seasonal strawberries, which is rather like a fruitier Queen of Puddings dessert (which uses jam rather than fresh fruit), comes close. It is adapted from a recipe I found in Home Cookery magazine from June 1916 although I’ve used a touch more sugar in the meringue topping than originally suggested.
- 60g stale breadcrumbs
- Grated zest from ½ lemon
- 90g caster sugar
- 300ml single cream or whole milk
- 25g melted butter plus extra for dusting
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 50g icing sugar, sieved
- 250g fresh strawberries, quartered or cut into 8 pieces if large
- Pre-heat the oven to 150℃. Butter a 20cm, deep oven proof pie dish.
- Put the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and 25g caster sugar in a bowl. Heat the cream or milk with the butter and ½ tsp vanilla extract until the butter has melted then pour over the breadcrumbs and allow them to soak for 10 minutes. Tip into the prepared dish and stand this in a tin. Pour boiling water into the tin so that it comes up to the half way of the dish then place in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven then increase the oven temperature to 180℃.
- Put the egg whites into a clean bowl with a few drops of lemon juice. Using and electric whisk, beat on a high speed until voluminous and soft peaks are formed. Reduce the speed slightlyt then gradually add 65g caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, ensuring the sugar is thoroughly incorporated before the next addition. After all the sugar has been added whisk at a high speed for a few minutes until glossy and stiff. Finally gradually fold in the icing sugar and ½ tsp vanilla extract.
- Once the custard has set, spread the chopped strawberries over the base as evenly as possible then cover these with meringue (you can pipe it on if you wish). Return to the oven for 5 mins to brown. This dessert can be served warm or cold.