Cakes and Bakes, Delicious Desserts, GBBO - Season 13

GBBO Season 13 – Week 5 Technical: Lemon Meringue Pie

The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 13 Challenges.

Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).

So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!

The technical for Week five is a lemon meringue pie! This was one of the challenges I was looking forward to because I love lemon meringue pie! It’s got lemon, it’s got meringue, it’s got pastry! What else do you need?

However, upon seeing the recipe, I became nervous about the recipe. The only setting agent for the filling was cornstarch and egg. I have not had luck with setting those ingredients in the past. But I was hoping to have a better go around this time. Did I succeed? Stay tuned to find out 😉

Lemon Meringue Pie is a relatively easy recipe with a bit of stove top cooking, but the majority of the time set chilling. Because everything needs to cool and set, I gave myself plenty of time to work on this project.

Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!


For seeming so simple, this recipe does have more ingredients than I anticipated. Mainly the giant quantities of certain ingredients. I was not expecting to have to use six lemons. Six! That just feels like a lot.

This recipe also requires 6 eggs in total. The filling needs the yolks while the meringue needs the whites. But, at least, this recipe uses all the eggs! I was also surprised to see orange juice in the filling, but it brought out even more of the lemon flavor! I am loving this orange and lemon combination I have been coming across lately.


The process for making a lemon meringue pie is very systematic and should be done in the specific order listed.

The Pastry

I first had to make the pastry. Pastry is the base of the pie. Required to hold each bit of pie and an opportunity to add a rich buttery flavor to the dish. The pastry for this lemon meringue pie is very similar to pastries that I have made in the past.

To start, I whisked the flour and the salt together. Then I added in the butter. I Started mixing everything together with a spoon but then I switched to my hands. I feel like I can rub the butter into the flour easier when using my fingertips.

The mixture should have a crumb-like or sand like texture once all the butter is rubbed into the flour. Then I added some sugar and egg. Again, I started to mix everything together with a spoon before switching to my hand. It wasn’t the crumbliest of dough, but it was not robust either.

Once I got the dough to a good working texture, I used a rolling pin to push the dough out into a disc that would cover my entire pie tin. I tried to push the dough into all of the corners of the pie tins before lining the tin with parchment, and then filling the pie with weights.

Pennies are great weights because they are easily available. I know that pie weights exist, but I have pennies so that works fine. I baked the pie crust which means it is ready for the filling!

Lemon Filling

The filling is where I ran into a little trouble. If I had followed the recipe perfectly, it would have turned out well, but I am not familiar with the viscosity of set lemon custard. But I’ll talk more about that later.

 To start making the filling, I combined the lemon juice and zest of six lemons. There was a lot to work with here. The big concern was making sure that the lemon juice was strained so now seeds or pulp ended up in the lemon meringue pie!

Then I threw the orange juice and some water into a pot on the stove. I brought it to a boil and then added my lemon mixture. Let it all simmer and thicken. And here is the first potential spot of failure. I am not sure what the recipe defined as “thickened” so I eyeballed it the best I could. But I’m not confident I did the right amount.

In a large bowl, I whisked together egg yolks and sugar. I wanted to make the mixture light and fluffy. I am always surprised by how much yolks can fluff up. They don’t get as fluffy as egg whites, but they can do a very close.

Then I added the lemon mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. I continued to whisk while doing this to prevent the eggs from flash cooking which would make scrambled egg custard. No good. It is something I have done before, and I want to avoid doing it ever again.

I put the whole mixture back into the pot and over a flame. This is thickening instance number two. And again, I do not know if I thickened the filling enough. I do think this is where I went wrong and did not keep the mixture on the flame long enough. Not thick enough means the mixture won’t set. I poured the filling into the pie tin and let chill to set.

The Meringue

The last step of this process is making the meringue. I believe this to be the easiest part of this recipe. In a large bowl, I combined egg white and cream of tartar and whisked like nothing else. I wanted the mixture to reach soft peaks but no further. I still needed to whisk in sugar.

So, one tablespoon at a time, I added in the sugar. I do this slowly because I want the sugar to be incorporated well into the meringue. Adding too much at once can cause clumps. This feels like a major mixing moment. I typically try to mix until I can’t really feel the graininess of the meringue.

Then I scooped all of that delicious mixture on top of the set pie. I used the back of the spoon to make the meringue into a design. And then it was into the oven! I wanted to get the meringue a little crispy with a golden color on the tips.


The flavors of this lemon meringue pie are on point! They taste absolutely fantastic. But, if you couldn’t tell from my allusions earlier, I did not get the filling to set properly. I have always had issues setting custard. But I have a hack below in the lessons section if you don’t mind distorting the original recipe.

This is definitely I want to make this lemon meringue pie again. And again. And again. The flavor was really good…


Using Extra Help

If you have trouble setting custard, like I do, then using an extra tool can really help. That tool? Gelatin. Gelatin makes basically anything set. I wouldn’t use much since the remaining ingredients are meant to set on their own. I would bloom about 1 teaspoon of gelatin and mix it in after bringing the juice to a boil.


Lemon Meringue Pie

This flavorful Lemon Meringue Pie has rich buttery crust, a smooth and zesty filling, and a sweet crunchy and sweet meringue topping.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes



  • 1 ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 11 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg beaten

Lemon Filling

  • Zest & Juice of 6 Lemons
  • ¼ Cup Cornstarch
  • Cup Smooth Orange Juice
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Egg Yolks


  • 6 Egg Whites
  • ½ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 ⅓ Cup Granulated Sugar



  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. Rub butter into the mixture to create a crumb like texture.
  • Add icing sugar and eggs to the mixture. Combine into a dough. Roll out into a large disc (about 3 mm thick). Line a prepared pie tin and trim away and excess dough. Let chill for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  • Using weights (pie weight or pennies) fill the pastry, using a layer of parchment paper between. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove baking weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Leave to cool.


  • Mix lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch until smooth.
  • In a saucepan, combine ⅔ cup water and orange juice. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add lemon mixture and let mixture simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and egg yolks. Pour in hot lemon mixture. Stir continuously.
  • Place mixture back into the saucepan over a medium heat until thickened. Let cool slightly. Pour into a baked pastry case. Let chill until set.


  • Preheat Oven to 300° Fahrenheit.
  • Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture reaches soft peaks.
  • Add granulated sugar, one teaspoon at a time. Allowing for the sugar to fully incorporate between each addition. The meringue will become stiff and glossy.
  • Spoon into a large dome on top of the set filling. Use the spoon to create a swirl design. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the meringue becomes a light golden brown and crisp.
  • Enjoy!


Having trouble setting? Add a teaspoon of gelatin! Bloom gelatin in a teaspoon of water before adding it to the boiling mixture. Add when adding the lemon mixture.

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