These little pies take a bit of effort but in my opinion they are totally worth it. The individual size makes serving them so easy and it makes them look extra pretty. A lovely treat for tea or desert with absolutely no lactose- plus you always end up with a little lemon curd left over and who could be upset about that?
175g plain flour
1 table spoon of caster sugar
1 medium egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of very cold waterFor the lemon curd:
2 medium unwaxed lemons
2 medium egg yolks
60g caster sugar
40g butterFor the meringue:
6 medium egg whites
300g caster sugar
Start by making the pastry as you will need time for it to chill in the fridge before rolling out. You can always make it the night before if time is limited.
To make it by hand make sure your hands are as cold as possible before you begin! Put the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl, add the cold diced butter and rub it into the flour mix until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Using a round bladed / butter knife mix in the egg and water mixture until you have a firm dough. You can add more water, a tiny bit at a time, if it seems too dry.
To make it in a food processor put the flour and sugar in the processor and pulse till mixed together. Add the cold diced butter and process till it looks like fine breadcrumbs. This won’t take long at all so make sure you don’t over process. With the machine running again pour in the egg and water mix until the dough is moving around the processor more or less in one lump. Add more water a tiny bit at a time if the mixture seems too dry to stick together.
Cut out 20 squares of greaseproof paper that are large enough to line the pastry cases whilst still covering the edges. I actually cut up Baco roasting bags for this part as they dent the pastry less but are still oven proof. Place the squares over each chilled pastry case and fill with baking beans.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, turn the oven down to gas 4/ 180/ 160 fan and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to one side whilst you make the filling.
Grate the lemon zest and place it in a heatproof bowl, add the lemon juice and the cornflour and mix to a smooth paste. Add the 200ml of boiling water and stir it until combined. Pour the mixture into a pan and cook until it boils and thickens, reducing the heat and stirring for a while. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, the butter and the sugar. Spoon the lemon curd into the pastry cases so they are filled about two thirds. Put any remaining lemon curd in a jam jar and store in the fridge.
For the meringue, start by fitting a large piping bag ( I use the disposable kind as they are so much easier afterwards! You can buy them on a roll from baking shops.) with a wide star shaped nozzle, this will give the meringue a lovely Mr Whippy ice cream appearance! Put the icing bag in a jug or pint glass folding the bag over the top edges to secure it open and leave it to one side.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they are quite stiff. Gradually add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until you have a thick and glossy meringue.
Spoon the meringue into the piping bag and pipe the meringue onto the pies. Start from the outside making sure you cover all of the lemon curd.
Bake the pies for 15 minutes until the meringue is pale golden brown. Leave to cool in the trays and then serve.