Even though not originally a Peruvian creation, Pie de Limon 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 (limes). 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.