A deliciously tangy and sweet dessert that looks incredible and tastes divine. If you’re looking for a new favorite recipe, one that tastes different but also has familiarity, get baking with this popular dessert.
First things first, lemon pie is originally from England by way of France. Variations of the dessert then appeared in the United States. But this sweet treat is a popular dish to finish a dinner in Peru. In this recipe, we’re using one of the most important ingredients in Peruvian cuisine, the humble lime. Lime fruits bring a tangier, stronger flavor to the dessert. But we prefer it that way. And if you prepare it for guests or family, you are bound to get a positive response. Try it!
Preparing the lemon pie is simple. For people that haven’t prepared it before the timings might seem a little complicated but in reality, it’s an easy recipe to get right every time.
The first step in making a successful pie is preparing the base. In our case, we use a sable dough (eggs, butter, salt, sugar, flour). This type of dough crumbles easily. We’ll use dough with a neutral flavor since the taste of the pie filling is intense.
We’ll also use salted butter because it helps balance the sour and sweet flavor of the filling and meringue. Don’t worry if the dough tastes kind of bland, it confirms that you are on the right track.
The most common mistake is to cook the filling with the dough. This would ruin any pie, unfortunately. In the kitchen, there are steps that must be followed.
After mixing the flour, sugar, and butter for the dough, flatten the cold dough with the rolling pin. Next, apply the dough to the mold. Add some small holes and cover with some weight to prevent it from sponging; I recommend a piece of aluminum foil with beans on top. If you want your pie to be golden brown, bake for ten minutes with the aluminum foil covering, and then five more minutes without the covering.
With the crust ready, mix all the ingredients of the filling. Cover the base with the filling and bake for the third time. Cook for about fifteen minutes until the filling begins to thicken. Remove it from the oven and proceed to the last step, the decoration.
I used an Italian meringue base for the decoration, although some people prefer to decorate the pie with Chantilly cream.
- The dough used in this recipe is a brittle type known in confectionery as sablée or sable dough. Its main characteristic is that it crumbles easily. To obtain this consistency it is essential that the dough does not have an “elastic” consistency.
- It is important to note that when gluten is activated, dough acquires elasticity. This process happens with the kneading and the heat of the hands. That is why we recommend touching this dough as little as possible and using very cold utensils. If the dough develops gluten, it will be too hard to chew and will ruin the pie.
- We use an electric mixer to avoid heating the dough. If you don’t have this type of mixer, you can mix the dough with two knives as was accomplished in the old days.
- Before starting the preparation of the lemon pie, place the mixing bowl, the mixer blades, the butter, and the egg in the fridge.
- One of the interesting things about this recipe is that the flavor of its filling is not that intense, because we add egg yolks. And in turn, the whites of those same eggs are used to prepare the Italian meringue. This is a no-waste recipe.
- Limes are much more commonly used in Peruvian recipes than lemons. The substantial difference with the Peruvian lemon pie, compared with recipes from other countries, is that it requires less lime juice than a similar pie would need lemon juice, and is usually more acidic. More on Peruvian Fruits here.
Step by Step Photos
- What we love about lemon pie is that you can eat it freshly made or you can keep it for several days. Even then, it will be as tasty as the first day.
- Eating this Peruvian dessert dish cold, accompanied by a hot drink, coffee or tea is an experience you must try.
Pie de Limón – Peruvian Lemon & Lime Pie
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour 300 g.
- 1/3 cup sugar 60 g.
- 3/4 cup margarine with salt diced, cold, 180 g.
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg cold from the fridge
- 1 1/3 condensed milk 500 ml
- 1/2 cup lime juice 120 ml
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 zest of lemon
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar 240 g.
- 1/2 cup water
- In the bottom of the mixer bowl, place the butter, sifted flour, and sugar. Turn the mixer on to high speed, and mix for about three minutes until you get a mixture similar to sand.
- When all the flour particles are moistened with butter, add the egg and vanilla.
- Beat for about three more minutes until the dough turns into a ball.
- Avoid touching the dough with your hand (to prevent any transfer of heat). Form the dough into a ball and put it on plastic wrap. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, it should be cold but still moldable. Remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle wheat flour on a flat, clean surface. Place the ball of dough on the surface, and roll it out with a rolling pin.
- Lightly grease the mold where you will bake the pie. Carefully peel the dough off the table, and place it on the pan. Press gently with your fingers so that the dough adheres to the sides of the pan. With a knife remove the excess from the edge. Then, with a fork, poke holes in the surface of the dough. Put the mold in the fridge for approximately twenty minutes while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 150 °C/300 °F. Remove the mold from the fridge. Cover the dough with aluminum foil, and top with a layer of beans (or anything that acts as a weight) This will prevent the dough from expanding.
- After the first ten minutes of cooking. Remove the mold from the oven, and remove the aluminum foil. Bake for about 5 more minutes to brown. Remove the mold from the oven and let it cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, and lemon zest. Stir very well with a hand mixer, until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Pour the filling mixture over the base of the pie. Put it in the oven for about fifteen minutes until the filling begins to set. Remove from oven. When cool, store in the fridge, until the meringue is ready.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the water followed by the sugar. Without stirring, put the saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
- Cook for about ten minutes until the syrup reaches the so-called soft ball point (adding cold water turns it into a ball). You will have achieved the desired point when you dip a fork in the syrup and small balls of soft caramel form on the tips of the fork.
- While the caramel heats, beat the whites until stiff. Then add the caramel little by little to the beaten egg whites. Continue beating until you feel that the bowl material reach room temperature.
- Place the meringue in a pastry bag and decorate the lemon pie. If you wish, you can put it in the oven for another five minutes to brown. Then, refrigerate the pie for about two hours, before cutting it. If you wish, you can decorate it with thin slices of lemon, mint leaves or lemon zest.