Tart and tangy Blackcurrant Meringue Pie made with perfect gluten free shortcrust pastry. A twist on tradition and rich with the flavours of summer. Optional Dairy Free.
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Blackcurrant Meringue Pie… A perfect dessert from a seasonal harvest
Have you ever tried a Blackcurrant Meringue Pie? No? Neither had I until this year! But I tell you… It won’t be the last time I indulge in this delicious dessert. It’s all the things that you expect from a meringue pie… Crisp pastry encasing a tart and tangy fruity custardy interior, topped with pillowy, sweetly contrasting meringue. And boy… Just look at that colour!
I love blackcurrants, not least because they pack the most glorious and quite distinctive flavour punch. So, when the blackcurrant plant that I bought rewarded us this summer with the most abundant crop of juicy purple balls, it seemed important to use them for something rather special. And Blackcurrant Meringue Pie is one of two phenomenal desserts that I squeezed from our single-bush haul.
A few facts about blackcurrants…
Blackcurrants are probably best known for their use in Ribena… The sweet, cordial-juice drink popular with children. But they are super-yummy, good for you and far more versatile than sugary drinks! Here’s a few facts about this humble berry…
- A single blackcurrant has more Vitamin C than an orange. Yes… really!
- Blackcurrants are also a great source of Calcium.
- They are high in Vitamins A, B (1, 5 & 6) and the minerals iron, copper and phosphorus.
- There are 63 calories in 100g of blackcurrants.
- Medical studies indicate that the natural substances contained in blackcurrants support the health and function of the eyes and blood circulation. They can also reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
- In 1940’s Britain, blackcurrant syrup was provided free of charge for children aged under 2, because of its high vitamin and calcium content.
- Blackcurrant plants are native to temperate climates… In particular northern Europe and northern Asia.
- It was however, cultivated in Russia in the 11th Century.
- Most varieties of blackcurrant are named after Scottish mountains.
- In the UK, the blackcurrant season runs from about early July to mid-August.
- Blackcurrant fruits are a berry.
- Blackcurrant plants are really easy to grow.
- The berries can be eaten raw, but are very tart, so need a little sugar added to be best enjoyed.
- Blackcurrants have a multitude of culinary uses… From traditional jam, blackcurrant pies and cordials to ice cream, panna cotta, blackcurrant fool and of course this fabulous Blackcurrant Meringue Pie. They are even used to make the scrumptious liqueur Cassis and to pair with gamey meats.
Where do I find blackcurrants to make a Meringue Pie?
I often think that blackcurrants are a very underrated fruit in the domestic kitchen. And am saddened that they are not more available in the fresh fruit supermarket aisles. But… you do have four main options for sourcing blackcurrants…
- Buy them fresh… Although they can be a little elusive to find, some supermarkets do stock them when in season… I have found them in Waitrose, Sainsburys and Tesco in the past and farm shops are always a good place to hunt them down.
- Grow your own blackcurrant bush… They don’t need a lot of space (mine is in a large terracotta plant pot in a good sunny spot). And you will be rewarded with enough berries for at least 2 to 3 and probably more full-on blackcurrant dishes a year.
- Frozen Blackcurrants may be easier to find than fresh ones… Source them on-line or in some supermarkets… Asda and Farmdrop are good options.
- If you can’t find fresh blackcurrants, tinned ones are fine to use as well… NOT the ones that come as fruit filling, but canned blackcurrants in juice. They should have no added sugar, but literally be just blackcurrants and juice (usually apple juice). I find mine in Sainsburys… And before using them to make Blackcurrant Meringue Pie, simply drain them thoroughly using a sieve and then follow the recipe as normal.
Can I make Blackcurrant Meringue Pie with gluten free pastry?
Yes. Absolutely! Apart from the pastry, Blackcurrant Meringue Pie is entirely and naturally gluten free. The blackcurrant curd filling and meringue topping have no gluten-containing ingredients so are totally safe. Just add gluten free pastry!
For the best Blackcurrant Meringue Pie experience, you need a gluten free shortcrust pastry recipe that is crisp and light. There is nothing worse than thick pastry with so much gum to hold it together that it is bendy and soft… And so unnecessary when good gluten free pastry really isn’t that hard to make. Don’t go for style over substance. Crisp, short pastry counts for a lot when eating it!
I recommend my tried and tested Gluten Free Alchemist Short Crust Pastry Recipe, which comes with a Step-By-Step Guide. Alternatively, you could use the blog recipe for Flaky Shortcrust (leave out the salt and add a spoon of sugar as you want). Or, for something altogether more special, make gluten free Pate Sucrée.
Can I make the Meringue Pie recipe with other berries?
At GFHQ we love a Meringue Pie. And we’ve tried making them with a whole range of fruits… So… Although I absolutely recommend seeking out blackcurrants to make a Blackcurrant Meringue Pie (it’s definitely one of my favourite versions), you do have other options…
- You can use the very same recipe shared below, but substitute with Redcurrants or White Currants.
- Or you can go traditional ‘berries’… Head over to our very popular recipe for Raspberry Meringue Pie and use either Raspberries or switch for Blackberries or Boysenberries. If picking Blackberries from the hedgerows, check out our tips and advice on blackberry picking! If you are lucky enough to live in Scandinavia, you could even use Cloudberries.
Because of the sweetness of the meringue that tops the pie, I would always recommend using a tart fruit for the filling. Anything else can be a little too sweet. So while you could make a strawberry or blueberry version, it is always good to pair these sweeter berries with something altogether sharper… Try my Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie.
Can I make Blackcurrant Meringue Pie dairy free?
Recommended equipment for making Blackcurrant Meringue Pie
When making Blackcurrant Meringue Pie, there are three stages to the process. Okay, I admit it’s not the speediest of desserts to pull together, but it really isn’t that hard either. Seriously. Meringue pie is a standard on the school cooking curriculum. And if they think the average teen can make it, you can too!
But… You will need a few bits of kit to make it. Here’s my recommendations…
Kitchen Scales are a given requirement! It’s definitely worth investing in a good set and if possible, some dual platform scales which allow for measurements of both usual and tiny weights (for making gluten free bread, etc)
Making the pastry
- Mixing Bowls – To rub the fat into the flour and to fork-beat the egg and water before adding. You’ll also need these for the meringue.
- Rolling pin
- Loose-bottomed pie tin – Meringue pies always look best with the bare pastry on display. I mostly use a 9 inch (23 cm) tin, but feel free to go smaller.
- Some baking beans to blind-bake the pastry. You don’t want a ‘soggy bottom’.
Making the blackcurrant curd filling
- A powerful blender to puree the blackcurrants…
- Fine-mesh sieve to get rid of all the fibrous bits.
- Decent non-stick saucepan to cook the curd over the kitchen hob.
- Wooden or Silicone Spoon for stirring in the pan.
- Electric whisk to beat the egg yolks into the mixture.
- Fridge to chill and set!
- A good, sturdy electric whisk is essential to whipping the egg whites. Just use a hand whisk, or if you prefer a stand-mixer, I recommend investing in a Kitchen Aid mixer for durability and versatility.
- I also couldn’t live without my Silicone Spoon-Spatula, which ensures I get every last bit of meringue (and filling) out of the bowl and into the pie.
Ready to make my Blackcurrant Meringue Pie recipe?
So, that’s all the extra information needed. Are you ready to try making my Blackcurrant Meringue Pie? I hope so. But if you do, let me know with a comment below, a recipe rating or a tag on social media… (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter).
If you are looking for more inspiration… Check out our dedicated Gluten Free Desserts Index. And for everything else, our main Gluten Free ‘Recipe Book’ Index will have you hooked. You could even sign up to our weekly update so that you never miss a recipe again! Just fill in the box below or on the Home Page.
Either way… Thanks as always for visiting Gluten Free Alchemist.
Other Blackcurrant Recipes you’ll love at Gluten Free Alchemist…
Blackcurrant Meringue Pie
- 1x 9 inch (23 cm) loose-bottomed pie tin (or use more smaller ones)
- flat knife
- piping bag and nozzle – optional
- serving plate
Pastry (approx 9 inch shortcrust pastry case) I use the following Gluten Free Recipe
- 220 g gluten free rice free flour blend GFA Blend B – See NOTES
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch fine sea salt
- 55 g unsalted butter or dairy free block alternative cold and cut into very small cubes
- 55 g lard/Trex cold and cut into very small cubes
- 35 g soft light brown sugar
- 1 large egg UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 2 tbsp very cold water (up to 2½ if more needed)
Blackcurrant Curd Filling
- 430 g fresh/frozen/tinned blackcurrants + 1 tbsp cold water If using tinned blackcurrants, drain very well.
- 1 to 2 lemons/limes (juice) to make the pureed blackcurrants up to about 400 ml
- 65 g golden caster sugar
- 25 g corn flour (starch) + 2 tbsp cold water
- 3 large egg yolks UK large (save the whites for the meringue)
- 40 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative
- 3 large egg whites
- 150 g white caster sugar
- Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Rub the butter and lard into the flour mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add and stir in the sugar.
- Lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of the water and then add to the dry ingredients.
- Mix together with a flat knife until it starts to form a dough. If the mixture feels too dry, add more of the water. It is better to have a slightly tacky dough, than an over-dry one.
- Now bring the dough together with lightly cornflour-dusted hands and press into a ball. Knead briefly to ensure ingredients are fully amalgamated. No need to chill.
To Make the Pie Base
- Lay down and lightly flour (with corn starch/flour) either a large sheet of cling film or baking paper (see NOTES).
- If making a single large pie, place all the pastry on top of the floured surface, or divide into separate pieces if making more than one to avoid over-working the pastry. Flatten slightly and lightly flour the top.
- Roll the pastry out straightaway (do not chill in the fridge) to a thickness of 2 to 3 mm, checking the shape as you roll to ensure it will fit the tin (including the sides).
- Carefully lift the pastry with the support of the rolling pin and lay over the flan tin (or use the cling film-flip method as in the NOTES). Working quickly, ease the pastry into the base, gently moulding into the sides of the tin. Try and avoid cracking the pastry too much, but don't worry if it does crack as gluten free pastry is very forgiving and can be easily 'patched'.
- Trim the pastry edge flush with the top of the tin, using a sharp knife.
- Carefully examine the pastry base for any cracks or holes. If there are any, use the trimmed, remains to ‘repair’
- To repair : Roll and trim a piece of pastry dough to rough size, and using cold water, dampen both the area around the crack/hole and the down-side of the ‘patch’ and gently press together, smoothing the edges with a finger dipped in water to seal and tidy.
Chill the pastry base
- Place the prepared flan pastry in the fridge for half an hour to chill prior to baking.
- While chilling, pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 5.
Blind-Bake the Pastry Case(s)
- Scrunch and then flatten a piece of baking paper large enough and lay inside the flan case(s). Then fill the pastry base with baking beans.
- Bake the pastry with the baking beans for 10 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and remove the baking beans (lifting them on the baking paper and carefully pouring into a heat-proof container to cool). Discard the baking paper.
- Place the uncovered pastry case(s) back in the oven for a further 7 to 10 minutes, checking they are golden and dry, but do not burn.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Once the pastry case(s) are cold, remove from the tins and place on a plate that will fit in the fridge.
Blackcurrant Curd Filling
- Puree the blackcurrants in a blender with 1 tablespoon cold water.
- Carefully sieve the blended blackcurrants into a measuring jug to remove the fibrous bits. Get every last bit you can out, by forcing the pulp through the sieve to make a thick puree.
- Add sieved lemon/lime juice to make the puree up to about 400 ml.
- Mix the puree with the sugar in a large saucepan.
- Mix the corn flour with 2 tbsp cold water (little by little) in a small bowl to make a smooth paste and then stir this into the blackcurrant-sugar liquid.
- Heat gently, stirring continually until the mixture comes to a simmer.
- Continue to stir over a low heat for about a minute until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Crack and separate the eggs very carefully. You need the yolks for the filling, but set aside the whites for the meringue. You need to be careful not to get any egg yolk in the white as this will ruin the meringue.
- Beat the egg yolks into the blackcurrant mixture one at a time using an electric whisk and then beat in the butter until smooth.
- Spoon the filling into the pre-baked pastry case(s) and smooth the surface evenly.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the filling to set.
- Whilst making the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and place the baking tray that you intend to cook the pies on in the oven to heat up.
- Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar a little at a time continuing to whisk until the meringue has a stiff, glossy appearance.
- Spread and pile or pipe the meringue onto the raspberry tarts, to the edges.
- Carefully remove the hot baking tray from the oven and place the tart(s) onto it (use a spatula/fish slice to help transfer the tarts if they feel fragile).
- Bake for about 20 minutes in the middle of the oven until the meringue surface is golden brown and crisp. Check frequently to make sure it is not burning and turn the oven down slightly if you are concerned.
- Eat warm or cold. Delicious with cream
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist