Alison Roman's salted lemon cream pie recipe
There are no meringues in my latest cookbook, Sweet Enough. Before you get upset, please ask yourself, what is the meringue for? For whom is the meringue?
Raw egg whites (no flavour) and sugar (sweet) whipped together to give you something that looks pretty – except that when you eat it, you’re like, wait, did I just eat raw egg whites and sugar? Sure, the texture has the potential to be pleasant, but even on its best day it’s not something I want to eat a ton of.
And that’s why a lemon meringue pie was never on the cards... but a lemon cream pie? Now, that is something I will die for. While the lemon (lean, acidic) merely tolerates meringue, it truly needs the whipped cream (rich, fatty) to cut through, to round it out, to make the slice balanced and complete.
This pie can be made four days ahead. Store it loosely wrapped in the refrigerator. It's delicious with a glass of sparkling wine or heavily lemon’d sparkling water.
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook time: 50 minutes
One 23cm (9in) pie
For the crust
225g (8oz) vanilla wafers, digestive biscuits (graham crackers) or Biscoff biscuits
85g (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
For the filling and topping
4 large egg yolks
1 x 400g (14oz) tin sweetened condensed milk
300ml (1¼ cups) fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
good pinch of salt
230ml (1 cup) double (thick/heavy) cream
30g (¼ cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar
220g (1 cup) sour cream
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)/160C fan/gas mark 4.
2. In a bowl, smash the vanilla wafers or biscuits with your hands until you have coarse crumbs, nothing larger than a lentil. (alternatively, place the biscuits in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin, or use a food processor). Mix with the melted butter and salt until you get really moist crumbs, almost like wet sand. Press the crumbs into a 23cm (9in) pie dish.
3. Bake until the crust starts to lightly brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
4. Make the filling: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks until they’re pale and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add the condensed milk and whisk a few more minutes, until the mixture is light and airy. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt.
5. Pour the filling into the partially baked crust and return to the oven to bake until the centre barely jiggles, another 30–35 minutes (the top should not brown, so keep an eye on it). Let the pie cool completely.
6. When it’s time to serve this gorgeous pie, grab a hand whisk and a large bowl and whisk the cream and icing sugar together until they’ve achieved medium peaks that will basically stand up on the ends of the whisk; you can also do this with an electric mixer. Whisk in the sour cream (no need to fold, the cream should hold up), then swirl that all over the top of the pie, as high or decoratively as you please.
Recipe from Sweet Enough by Alison Roman (Hardie Grant Books, £28), published on April 5. Order your copy at books.telegraph.co.uk