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Simple switches: lemon meringue pie

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Lemon-flavoured custards, puddings and pies have been enjoyed since medieval times. Although Renaissance European cooks used whisked egg whites in several dishes, it wasn’t until the 17th century that they perfected meringue.

 

With its perfect balance of sweet textures, lemon meringue pie came about in the 1800s, with the earliest recorded recipe attributed to Swiss baker Alexander Frehse.

 

Centuries later, we are still enjoying this melt-in-the-mouth dessert, but its buttery base and sugary filling can make it heavy on fat and calories. Here’s how to make it healthier.

  • For a fluffy meringue topping, use 2–3 egg whites, along with unrefined caster sugar. Or, try experimenting with a sugar-artificial sweetener mix. 
  • You can still get a perfect light filling using low-fat ingredients. Use 100g of reduced-fat crème fraiche and 100g low-fat quark as an alternative. Beat until smooth and foamy, and add lemon rind to sweeten. 
  • Great-tasting lemon meringue pie is built on good shortcrust pastry. Make the pastry healthier by using rapeseed oil and wholemeal flour, rather than butter and white flour. This reduces the number of calories and fat, but still creates the perfect crust. 
  • Why not serve this with a portion of fruit on the side to up your five a day? Raspberries are the perfect partner to lemon-flavoured desserts like this.
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