1. Grease 12 patty cake tins. For the biscuit base, place the biscuits into a food processor and process to fine crumbs. Tip into a bowl and stir through the melted butter. The mixture should hold together when pushed with the back of a spoon. If it’s still too crumbly to do that add a little extra melted butter. Divide the crumb mixture evenly among the holes of the tin and press down with your fingers to create a firm base. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
2. For the filling, combine the condensed milk, egg yolks, zest and juice in a bowl and mix to combine thoroughly. Spoon onto the biscuit bases.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
4. To make the meringue, place the egg whites, salt and a couple of spoonfuls of the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk the egg white at medium speed until it begins to foam. Increase the speed to high and whisk for 1–2 minutes, until the mixture turns white and forms soft, smooth peaks when you dip a finger in. Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually add the remaining sugar a spoonful at a time until it’s all incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then increase the speed to high again for 5 minutes, or until the meringue looks glossy, holds its shape when you lift the beaters and is without any gritty sugar feel.
5. Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the filling, leaving a 5mm gap around the edge. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the pies to come back to room temperature and then refrigerate for 30 minutes (until the base and filling are set).
6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each little pie and lift out. If the base does not lift easily, refrigerate for a little longer and then try again. Be careful though – if these little pies are kept in the fridge too long the meringue begins to sweat.
Note: The base and filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. The meringue should be done no more than 2 hours before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Kate Bracks’ The Sweet Life: desserts from Australia’s MasterChef. Photograph: Dan Magree Photography