This month the August Super Food Ideas magazine had a section with mash-up desserts: two desserts, Frankenstein monstered together. I made this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I will not lie, it has A Lot of steps and there is a lot of chilling time involved. Nevertheless, I have made it twice and it has been very popular. Reviews have been glowing and people were eagerly eyeing off the leftovers. If you can't face making pastry, I think this would be great with a biscuit base: 250g plain sweet biscuits crushed to a fine crumb and mixed with 100g melted butter. Press into the base of a lined spring-form tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes. My spring-form tin is 23cm in diameter.
I found I needed to add another 4 teaspoons of chilled water to bring my pastry together, I added one at a time until I felt it was correct. MrsDrWho's mum says she always seems to need more water in her pastry too, so I don't feel wanting in that department. After I put the pastry into the tin, I used the scraps to roll a long thin sausage of pastry and I used that to level and even off the edge of the top of the pastry. I did this as an experiment the first time, and the second time because it worked so well
I used my new yellow Americolor food colour to tint the cheesecake filling. It might be just a lot too yellow, but the colour is optional. There is gelatine in the filling. I used the best lemon curd I could buy in the supermarket, in a perfect world I would have made my own. I only used two egg-whites for the meringue topping as it isn't baked. I thought there was just too much uncooked egg-white meringue on top and it would not taste very nice at all. This is the photo from the magazine.
I used two egg-whites and it baked perfectly under the grill in less than a minute. I checked every 5 or 10 seconds as I was worried it would burn. You can also use a kitchen blowtorch, but I am afraid of them. This would work with a Swiss or Italian meringue though.
I don't believe this cheesecake pie will keep well in the fridge. Maybe a day or two, as the meringue topping could weep and the pastry soften. It really is best eaten as soon as it is topped with meringue.
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie serves 12
For the pastry:
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour, plus a little for dusting
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 125g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-6 teaspoons of chilled water
For the filling:
- 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 140g lemon curd
- 2 tbspn (40ml) caster sugar
- 1 tspn lemon zest
- 2 tspn lemon juice
- 1/2 cup thickened cream
- 1 1/2 tspn powdered gelatine
- 2 tbspn (40ml) boiling water
- yellow food colouring, optional
For the meringue topping:
- 2 egg-whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
Begin the pastry by putting the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rubbing the butter in until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. You can do this in a food processor.
Add the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of the chilled water and bring together, adding more water as needed. It will start to form a ball.
Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured bench and knead gently and briefly until it is smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When the pastry comes out of the fridge it may be too hard to roll, so leave it for 10 minutes to soften. Roll it out between two pieces of baking paper, that way you don't add too much flour. Roll the pastry out to a circle that is the diameter of your spring-form tin and at least an extra 6 cm for the sides (3 cm each) My tin is 23cm, so I rolled it out to a circle quite larger than 29cm. The pastry should be 5mm thick.
I turn the base of my spring-form tin upside down and then sandwich the baking paper between the sides and the base when I clip it together. It makes it easier to remove the pie from the base at the end. I also greased the sides and lined them with baking paper that was not as high as the sides of the tin. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and the roll it out and lower it into the tin. Quickly support it and press it into the sides and base, making sure the "corners" are pressed in too.
Trim the height of the sides, I made mine about 3-4cm and then I re-rolled the scraps into a long thin sausage and pressed that around the top to make a nice even edge. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Turn on the oven and preheat to200*C/180*C.
After 15 minutes, press some clean baking paper inside the pastry case and fill with dry rice, or bean or baking beads. Whatever you have that will keep the pastry flat while you blind bake. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and rice/weights and bake for another 1-0-12 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cool in the tin.
The filling is very easy. Place the cream cheese, lemon curd, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes. It should be smooth and creamy.
Sprinkle the gelatine over the boiling water in a cup or heatproof bowl or jug. Whisk until the gelatine is dissolved and slightly cool. Add the cream, lemon juice and gelatine mixture, and beat until combined and add the colour if you so desire.
Spoon the filling into the cooled pastry base and spread out evenly. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. My filling was firm in about 4 hours, so do check.
When you are about to serve the cheesecake pie, make the meringue topping. Whisk the egg-whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until it is glossy and smooth and you can't feel any gritty sugar when you run a little mixture between your finger and thumb.
Spoon the meringue over the filling, trying to cover it evenly and then use a fork to pull the meringue into little peaks all over. This will give it a very pleasing look when it grills. I made sure none of the baking paper had the chance to catch fire under the grill: I removed the lining paper from the sides, and tucked or tore away the base lining that was outside the tin. Place under the heated grill and check Very Frequently, every 5-10 seconds until it is browned to your desired brown-ness. Cool for 10 minutes and then cut into slices and serve.
It is delicious and really doesn't need anything else, but you could add some ice-cream, cream or berries. they would all be marvellous.