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Making lemon meringue pie , help needed

(21 Posts)
Lilypops Sat 11-Jan-20 21:50:04

My meringue topping comes out of the oven nice and crunchy, but soon goes soft and gooey, How can I get it to stay dry and crispy, Advice needed please Grans ,

phoenix Sat 11-Jan-20 22:00:48

I thought it was supposed to be very slightly crunchy at the top, but then a bit soft beneath? confused

B9exchange Sat 11-Jan-20 22:01:05

I cook mine on a low temperature for up to two hours, rather than the quick baking just to colour the top. Stays nice and crunchy then, but some people like it soft and just coloured, each to their own!

Hetty58 Sat 11-Jan-20 22:07:15

You could cheat by cooking the meringue separately and the rest with a lid on - although phoenix is right. I prefer to cook crumble on it's own for extra crunchiness, too.

Lilypops Sat 11-Jan-20 22:12:40

Phoenix, it goes soggy and the crunchiness just goes ,
B9 I cooked this afternoon on a very low temp, for 3 hours and it came out crispy then turned soft, Thankyou for your tips ladies , I will keep persevering , it tastes good so that's the main thing ,

Fennel Sat 11-Jan-20 22:34:52

I've made it many times and it always turns out differently.
The meringue topping especially.
I agree with Hetty - if you really want a crispy topping bake the meringue separately.
For me, the lemon filling is the main part. And the most work - squeezing the lemons and grating the skin.

Callistemon Sat 11-Jan-20 23:02:06

Use egg whites at room temperature not from the fridge. Beat the whites first until soft peaks then add the caster sugar a little at a time until you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays put.

I thought it should be crisp on top and soft underneath too.

Bake the pastry case blind first btw.

I haven't made one for ages but I'm sure last time I put the meringue on to a warm (not hot) lemon base and then only put it in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes at 170C, making sure the meringue went over the filling right up to the pastry with no gaps.

Don't refrigerate, cool and serve straight away.

If refrigerated, it could weep and go soggy.

I cook pavlova for a longer time but never heard of a meringue pie going into the oven for 3 hours.

Mary Berry adds 1 teaspoon of cornflour to the meringue. I have for a pavlova but not in the meringue formampie.

Callistemon Sat 11-Jan-20 23:03:13

That should be not in the meringue for a pie

I thought I pressed preview but it posted.

Lilypops Sat 11-Jan-20 23:12:47

Call , it was in the oven for almost three hours but the oven was on at its lowest thinking that the longer I leave it the more chance of it staying crunchy, I hadn't thought of adding cornflour as Mary Berry does, I will try it next time , Thankyou for your useful tips, I will crack it one day!!

Callistemon Sat 11-Jan-20 23:31:50

I may make one tomorrow now!
But I bet it goes soggy grin

Perhaps keeping it in the oven so long meant that the moisture from the warm lemon mixture seeped into the meringue.

I don't know, but moisture does seem to be the problem.

Lilypops Sat 11-Jan-20 23:41:07

Call, I let the lemon mix and the pastry base go cold before I put the meringue on , I have tried so many different ways and it always goes the same way , perhaps I should just open a tin of fruit with evap , it would be much easier and less fraught !!
Good luck with yours if you make one tomorrow, come back and let us know how yours turned out ,

Callistemon Sat 11-Jan-20 23:48:22

I bet it tastes delicious

No-one has ever forgotten my key lime pie mess but it tasted fine.

Chewbacca Sat 11-Jan-20 23:51:28

The Mary Berry recipe is the one that I always use and it's never failed yet.

Witzend Sun 12-Jan-20 09:13:33

Mine come out crisp on top and gooey inside but we like it like that. Is a LMP top supposed to be crisp all through?

@Fennel, I know what you mean about zesting lemons, but since I found a little gadget for doing it, it’s SO much quicker and easier. Because of the faff entailed I only used to make one about once a year, for dh on his birthday!

If you haven’t got one, google Good Grips lemon zester.
About £7 - found mine in a shop locally.
Was a massive help the first Christmas I had it, zesting lemons and oranges for puds and mincemeat.

Lilypops Sun 12-Jan-20 09:22:06

Witzend, my pie is gooey and not stayed crispy but as long as it tastes good which it did! I am going to try the lemon zester it will save tedious grating and ruined finger nails !!
Chew baca, I will look at Mary Berry,s recipe, Thankyou all for your tips

Fennel Sun 12-Jan-20 11:27:45

Thanks for the link, Witzend. I think John Lewis have a similar one, I'll look for it next time I'm there.
I love lemon flavour, eg lemon curd. Tesco's is good, and cheap. I wonder if you could use it in LMP and avoid all the faff?

HootyMcOwlface Sun 12-Jan-20 11:32:52

I love lemon meringue pie, my favourite dessert, I could eat a whole one on my own! I solved any cooking problems by buying a readymade frozen one!

M0nica Sun 12-Jan-20 11:43:04

LMP is meant to be crunchy on the top and soft underneath. If it is not going soft and gooey if left but stays dry and crisp, you have overcooked it.

When I (or DGD) make LMP, I put the pie with the meringue on it in the oven as I serve the main course that it is to follow. When the main course is finished the meringue is ready to serve. The meringue is beautifully crisp on top, while the underneath softly melts into the mouth

Mine (and DGD's) LMP never has time to go flat and gooey. The plate it was on always returns to the kitchen empty.

DGD, aged 12, made one over Christmas, and we promptly commissioned a second.

Callistemon Sun 12-Jan-20 11:47:38

I'm not going to make one today, !ilypops because it is only DH and me here for dinner.

But next time the family come over I will.

Callistemon Sun 12-Jan-20 11:48:15

Sorry, sp.

M0nica Sun 12-Jan-20 15:00:24

Meringue is hygroscopic, that is, it actively absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. So, as the pastry and lemon filling are damp, the meringue is going to go soft and collapse no matter what.

Think about making meringues, the cakes, not the pie topping, you whip them up and dry them out for hours and hours in a very slow oven. Once they are cooked you have to put then in a bone dry airtight box and only sandwich them with cream or whatever just before serving, otherwise they go soft.

Soft is the normal nature of meringue.