Even though not originally a Peruvian creation, Pie de Limon - Peruvian-style - surely is one of country’s most popular dessert and cake.
Where the traditional lemon pie originated from is quite a controversial subject: some sources say the crust and lemon curd filling was used in medieval Europe for centuries until a Swiss baker combined these in the 19th century with a meringue topping invented in England 200 years prior. Others attribute the creation of the lemon custard to the US American Quakers family and the invention of the famous lemon meringue pie to a baker in Philadelphia as well in the 19th century. When and how it came to Peru is unknown.
Anyway, while lemon meringue pie is found around the world mostly in Anglophone countries, the Peruvian adaptation is really something special. The base of the Peruvian Pie de Limon is usually made of crushed biscuits combined with soft butter or as well a simple shortcrust pastry is used. The traditional lemon curd filling however is substituted with a layer of a creamy, sweet-sour lime custard made using the typical small, very acidy Peruvian limons. Finally, the pie is covered with a generous amount of fluffy meringue.
Peruvian Pie de Limon is astonishingly easy to prepare at home without having to have fancy ingredients or utensil. The key to the characteristic Peruvian flavor however is the used lime juice. If you are in Peru finding limons surely isn’t a big deal; if you are abroad please use as well fresh produce, preferably the smallest, greenest and most acid limes you can find (for example key limes).
Below recipe is for a small pie dish (diameter 18-20 cm / 8”) and can be cut into 8 normal sized pieces of this delicious Peruvian temptation.
LimaEasy's Recipe for Peruvian Pie de Limon
Ingredients for the crust:
- 80 g (3/4 stick or 1/3 cup) soft butter
- 200 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 60 g (1/3 cup) sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 egg
Ingredients for the filling:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tin (397g or 14oz.) sweetened condensed milk
- 80 - 100 ml (depending on the sourness 1/3 to 1/2 cup) fresh lime juice
Ingredients for the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F) and butter a small pie dish.
- Preparing the crust: combine soft butter, flour, sugar, salt and egg using either an electric mixer or your hands. At the beginning the dough is quite crumbly, just continued to knead and press the ingredients together until you get a shiny and firm dough. Then roll out the pastry; to avoid sticking best flour the surface slightly or roll out the pastry between sheets of baking paper or cling film. Carefully transfer the dough to the pie dish covering the bottom and sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge, prick the base with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Preparing the filling: while the crust is pre-baking, combine the egg yolks, the sweetened condensed milk and the lime juice thoroughly with a whisk. Pour the mixture on the pre-baked pastry and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Preparing the meringue: Meanwhile beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until very stiff. Then gradually add the sugar and whip until the sugar is completely dissolved and the meringue is firm and shiny. Best use an electric mixer for this. Cover the pre-baked lime filling with the meringue and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove the pie from the oven, leave to cool and refrigerate. Peruvian Pie de Limon taste best when served cold!