Our youngest GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition students have made lemon meringue pie today and demonstrated not only complex cooking skills but a deeper understanding of food science.
As part of the three year course, the 13-14 year-olds are required to do much more than simply cook! The cohort is tested on their ability, knowledge and application of the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating.
While the majority of the syllabus is delivered through preparation and making activities, students must be able to make the connections between theory and practice to apply their understanding of food and nutrition to practical provision.
Today’s dish challenged the classmates to discover the science behind why eggs are used as a raising agent in meringues and how ‘coagulation’ is essential for a palatable lemon filling – all while making sure health and safety guidelines are adhered to and presentation is pleasing.
Lemon flavoured custards, puddings and pies have been made since Medieval times but meringue was perfected in the 17th century. Lemon meringue pie, as it is known today, is a 19th-century product. The earliest recorded recipe was attributed to Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandy. There is some evidence to suggest that the botanist Emile Campbell-Browne (1830–1925) had a very similar recipe concocted by his cooking staff in Wigbeth, Dorset, in 1875 and served to Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury at a hunting ball, in Wimborne St Giles, Dorset.