It's important to add the gelatine to the lemon curd to ensure it holds the layer of raspberry and the glorious top hat of meringue. A few fresh basil leaves are the perfect partner to this sweet-but-tart showstopping pie. Note: You will need a candy thermometer for the meringue.
1 portion basic sweet pastry (recipe here)
fresh basil leaves, to serve (optional)
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
160g castor sugar
150ml fresh lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
zest of 3 lemons
1 gold strength gelatin sheet, softened in ice-cold water
Cardamom raspberry layer
150g fresh raspberries
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ground cardamom
330g castor sugar
5 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Grease and line a pie tin. Gently place the rolled and chilled pastry over the top and push into the tin, trimming the sides.
Pop the pie tin in the fridge for 20 minutes. Line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice, then blind bake the pastry for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is golden around the edges. Remove the weights or rice and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes – the case should take on a lovely tanned appearance. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
For the lemon curd, whisk eggs, yolk and sugar in a heatproof bowl, then whisk in lemon juice and zest, followed by the butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the water to boil) and lightly whisk the mixture until it thickens to the consistency of whipped cream (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, and working quickly, add the bloomed gelatine and whisk briskly to combine and prevent any clumps from forming.
Spoon the curd into the cooked, cooled pastry shell and smooth the top using the back of the spoon. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until completely cooled and just set – it should be wobbly, and slightly softer than a panna cotta in consistency.
In a bowl, mash the raspberries with the vanilla bean paste and cardamom with a fork until the juices are released. Gently spread the raspberry mixture over the lemon curd then return to the fridge while you prepare the meringue.
For the Italian meringue, place sugar in a heavy-based saucepan, add ¼ cup water and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer, then remove from heat. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup in a steady stream and whisk for 5 minutes or until the bowl no longer feels warm to the touch. Reduce speed to low and mix until the meringue reaches room temperature.
Scoop the meringue mixture onto the pie, and gently use your spoon to create peaks and troughs – the less uniform, the better – it helps to catch the flame when you torch it.
Use a blowtorch to toast the meringue until golden (optional). Scatter with a few fresh basil leaves and serve.