When I first met Merrin Dungey – aka Mezza – she was cracking jokes with some of the lower members of the cast of Deep Impact. Despite being quite the high roller on set as T’s best-friend, I was drawn to her infectious joy and decided to take her under my wing.
Let me tell you, Mez is just what the doctor ordered – I feel joyous again!
Mez has long been someone I’ve relied on to lift my mood and in exchange, I’ve lifted her up the Hollywood ladder. After Deep Impact, I quickly introduced her to Sorks and got her a brief role on The West Wing, landed her a part with my – and I guess the world’s – Friends and bounced her too Chrissie Apps on Jesse before landing her the big fish that was Alias
opposite my then boyfriend Bradley Cooper.
It had been a couple of years since we last caught up – I may have caused a scene on the set of Trophy Wife when she was guesting and was scared I had embarrassed her. Thankfully, I hadn’t but sadly that meant I had to struggle with my mood these last few years.
Mezza is trying to relax and make the most of her free time before reporting to the set of her new show, Conviction, so was down to party and bring the joy … which she did.
As did my Lemon Merrin Dungey Pie.
I like my lemon curd like I like to act to attract men – tarty, smooth and soft and warm
inside. Add the culinary equivalent of Merrin / valium, pastry, and a generous dollop of mallowy meringue and you’ve got the perfect dessert to eat away your feelings.
Lemon Merrin Dungey Pie
1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar mixture
125g butter, chilled, coarsely chopped
2 ½ tbsp iced water
Filling and meringue aka all the rest
Lemon Kurd Cobain
1 cup cold water
¼ cup cornflour
8 large eggs, whites only
⅔ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
In a larger bowl, sift the flour and icing sugar together. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water and mix with your hands until it just comes together … just.
Shape into a 2cm thick disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out until it is about 5mm thick, lay the dough in a 23cm pie dish, trim excess, line with baking paper and return to the fridge for half an hour.
Then add pastry weights and bake for 15 minutes … and then remove the pastry weights and baking paper and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Set aside to cool completely.
That was kind of militant right now, wasn’t it? Sorry.
Anyway, while the crust is cooling, get to work on the curd. Start by whisking together the water and cornflour, then go to the recipe and when it calls for the butter add the cornflour slurry.
Rather than chilling the curd, pour it straight into the crust, smoothing over with the back of a spoon and chill in the fridge for 3-5 hours – the pie, not you – or until it is set.
About half an hour before you’re over the pie chilling preheat the oven to 180°C … again.
While the oven is warming up for you, combine the whites, sugar and salt in a large, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Layer the meringue on the pie, sealing in the curd, and bake for about 5-10 minutes, or until the meringue starts to brown.
You could always use a blowtorch in lieu of the oven but I don’t, and nor should anybody else, trust me with a blowtorch.
Either way, once you’re done devour and feel happiness again.
RIP *spoiler* from OITNB.