Sticky Lemon Crumble Pie

3:00 pm on 26 May 2023

Serves 6-8 / Prep 10 min / Cook 45 min

I'm fully aware that this is pushing the boundaries of a crumble. But I thought you deserved something where the crumble was upside down. An upside-down pie crumble you can scoop into. This would have to be my version of a 'crack pie', a la Christina Tosi from Milk Bar. A pretzel crust, a tangy lemon filling and a brûlée top. Delicious! You'll need a blow torch to attain true crack status, but feel free to skip that step and scoop right in if you don't have one.

Sticky lemon crumble

Sticky lemon crumble Photo: supplied


  • 150g store-bought salted pretzels
  • ¼ cup (35g) plain flour
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra for brûlée
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g (½ a can) sweetened condensed milk
  • finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons, to get ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (60ml) cream, plus extra to serve


Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced. Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the crumb base, place pretzels in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped. Add flour and butter and whiz again until mixture starts to clump together. Press crumb mixture into the base and sides of a 20cm tart or pie dish. Chill for 10 minutes to firm up slightly.

Toss lemon slices with 1 tbsp sugar. Arrange to one side of the baking tray.

Combine egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon zest and juice, cream and remaining sugar and pour over base. Reduce oven to 140°C and bake on tray next to lemon slices for 40-45 minutes or until filling is bubbling on the surface but still wobbles when given a slight shake and lemon slices have caramelised. Stand for 20 minutes to cool then chill to set, or keep going with the recipe and serve warm.

When you're ready to serve, scatter the filling with extra sugar. Use a blow torch to caramelise the top, working from the centre out, tilting the melting sugar as you go to get an even toffee coating (aka brûlée). Arrange the caramelised lemons on the top and serve with a spoon to crack and scoop into.

Spice it up:  Some dehydrated passionfruit powder in the pretzel crumb is a great way of bringing another layer of flavour.

Jazz it up: Ditch the brûlée and pile on a Swiss meringue. Combine 4 egg whites + 1 cup caster sugar and a pinch of creme of tartar. Place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring, until mixture is hot and sugar dissolves. Transfer to a stand mixer and whisk on high until tripled in size and fluffy. Spoon over the top and torch.


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