“This recipe was invented for my nephew who loves Lemon Meringue Pie, but I like to avoid making pastry (it’s too temperamental), and the lemon curd layer is a whole other fuss – so this is essentially my cheat’s version! Shortbread is so easy to make (and to fix if it goes wrong) and makes the perfect base. The middle is a simple-but-zesty white chocolate and lemon ganache that packs a citrus punch. There’s no getting away from the need for light, toasted meringue on top, it’s essential (and delicious).”
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes 8-10 biscuits
Ingredients – Shortbread:
75g Caster Sugar
300g Plain Flour
Ingredients – Lemon Ganache:
150g Good white chocolate.
Zest and juice of half a lemon.
Ingredients – Italian Meringue:
185g caster sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Method – Shortbread:
Preheat the oven at 200C/180C fan and line an oven tray with baking parchment.
Stir the dry ingredients together, then add the butter. Rub all of it together with your fingers.
It should become breadcrumb-like and then come together into a dough. The dough will stay together but it will crumble apart with a little pressure. If it’s too soft, simply add more flour, and if it’s too crumbly add more butter.
Roll the dough out on a flour-dusted worktop into a sheet about a centimetre thick. I used a 6cm cookie cutter to cut out 9 rounds.
Put the biscuits into the oven for 10 minutes and let them completely cool before assembling.
Method – Lemon Ganache:
Put all of the ingredients over a Bain-Marie. To do this, simply put a bowl over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt slowly.
Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the juice is combined.
Set aside but don’t refrigerate.
Method – Italian Meringue:
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into a mixer with a balloon whisk attachment and whip on a medium-high setting.
Meanwhile, pour the sugar and water into a pan and stir together. Put the pan over a medium high heat and wait for it to begin bubbling. Do not stir! As soon as it starts to bubble, remove it from the heat.
Pour the syrup into the egg whites slowly. This will gently cook the egg without turning it lumpy. When all of the syrup has been added to the egg white, turn up the mixer to a high setting and wait for the meringue to become silky and stiff. When ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out (we accept no responsibility for meringue loss or dirty slippers as a result of this test).
Spoon and smooth the ganache on to the shortbread. Be as generous as you like!
Spoon the meringue on top and use a fork to create texture. Use a blowtorch with care to toast the tops of your meringue.
Serve at the end of a dinner party with zero fuss, or to a wonderful nephew as a belated Lockdown birthday gift!