How do you like your eggs in the morning dads! I like mine Benedict style. It is Father’s Day this Sunday and another occasion where we can celebrate great food surrounded by the ones we love. So, to spoil the dads of Ireland here are two recipes, Eggs Benedict and Lemon Meringue Pie, that are sure to make them smile.
This is my version of Eggs Benedict, which is a poached egg served on a split muffin with crispy bacon and a warm butter sauce, which is much lighter than hollandaise. It’s also fantastic served with smoked salmon, which is known as eggs royale, or slices of hand-carved cooked ham.
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
16 smoked streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed
4 English breakfast muffins, split in half
25g (1oz) unsalted butter, softened
fresh chervil sprigs, to garnish Butter sauce:
100ml (3 ½fl oz) cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
25g (1oz) butter, softened
1 tsp cornflour, sifted
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pan with 2.25 litres (4 pints) water. Add the white wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Break each egg into the water where it’s bubbling, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 minutes, until the eggs are just cooked through but the yolks are still soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water. Preheat the grill, then grill the bacon until it’s crispy and golden, turning regularly. Toast the muffins, cut side up, and spread with the butter. Meanwhile, to make the butter sauce, place the cream and mustard in a small pan and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk in the butter, cornflour and lemon juice, then continue to whisk for 2–3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the chives and season to taste. Keep warm. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the poached eggs and cook for 1 minute to warm through. To serve, place 2 muffin halves on each warmed serving plate and put 2 slices of bacon on top of each one. Using a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs from the pan and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Place an egg on the bacon and spoon over the butter sauce. Garnish with the chervil sprigs.
Lemon Meringue Pie
As this pastry is so short, there is a real danger of breaking up when you are trying to roll it out. If this happens, try coarsely grating it directly into the tin and then quickly pressing the pastry up the sides and into the shape of the tin. No one will ever know the difference. Serves 6–8
For the pastry
175g (6oz) plain flour, extra for dusting
100g (4oz) butter, chilled and diced, extra for greasing
50g (2oz) caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp cream
For the filling
Finely-grated rind and juice of 3 lemons
4 tbsp cornflour
175g (6oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) butter, softened
4 egg yolks
For the meringue
3 egg whites
150g (5oz) caster sugar
Whipped cream, to serve
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor and blend for 20 seconds.
Add the egg yolk and cream and blend until the dough just comes together. Do not overwork or the pastry will be tough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for one hour.
Thinly roll out the pastry into a buttered 20cm (8in) fluted loose-bottomed flan tin that’s about 3cm (1¼in) deep. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork, then chill for 30 minutes. Now preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ gas mark 6.
Line the pastry case with tin foil or non-stick parchment paper and a thin layer of baking beans (also known as pie or pastry weights).
Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4. Remove the pastry case from the oven and carefully remove the foil and beans, then return to the oven for 3–5 minutes, until lightly golden.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, place the lemon rind and 400ml (14fl oz) of water in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Strain out and discard the lemon rind and then stir in the lemon juice.
Blend the cornflour with a little of the lemon liquid to form a smooth paste, then add to the pan with the sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until combined. Leave to cool a little and then beat in the egg yolks. Return to a low heat and cook for another 6–8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pour everything into the pastry case and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, make the meringue. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk into soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time to make a stiff, glossy meringue. Spoon this on top of the filling, spreading it out to make sure it makes a good seal with the pastry edge.
Swirl the top of the meringue with the tip of a knife and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp on top.
Leave to cool slightly and then carefully remove the tart from the tin and leave to cool for up to 2 hours. Any longer and the meringue will start to weep.
To serve, cut the lemon meringue pie into slices and arrange on serving plates with dollops of whipped cream.