Ida Marverti’s Lemon Pie



  • 6 oz / 170 g plain flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 3 oz / 85 g unsalted butter, softened and cut up
  • 1 oz / 30 g vanilla sugar
  • oz / 40 g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Lemon Cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  • 7 fl oz / 200 ml full-cream milk
  • grated zest of 2 lemons


Heap the flour and baking powder on a worktop, and make a well in the middle. Put the pieces of butter in the well with the sugars and egg yolks. Draw in the flour with your fingertips, and work the ingredients together quickly to form a dough. Add more flour only if necessary. Cover the pastry, and let it stand while you make the filling. Cream the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and foamy. Thoroughly mix in the flour, and blend in the milk. Add the lemon zest.

Roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use to line an 8 in / 20.5 cm flan ring, leaving enough around the edges to overlap the lid. Pour in the lemon cream. Roll out a lid, and cover the pie, overlapping a neat edging of pastry. Seal on the lid with water. Prick the top to let the steam escape, and bake in the middle of a preheated oven at 180° C / 350° F / Mark 4, moving to a lower shelf after 20 minutes or so if the pie shows signs of browning too much.


To make a lemon meringue pie, make the lemon filling with water rather than milk, stir in a little lemon juice as well as the zest and a little melted butter. Beat together thoroughly, and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens. Remove, and allow to cool before pouring into the pastry case. Beat 3 egg whites until they begin to firm up, then fold in 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Continue whisking until firm again, and then fold in another tablespoon of sugar. Whisk until this meringue is stiff and glossy, then spoon it over the lemon filling, heaping it up in the centre. Bake for 20–30 minutes until the meringue is golden brown. Serve warm.