Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie – a classic dessert with a trendy, tangy flavour combo. Perfectly fruity, moussy filling set in nutty, lightly floral gluten free pastry, all topped with pillowy meringue. With gluten free pastry.
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Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie (gluten free) – a fruity sister for lemon
Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie… The trendy flavour pairing dressed up in a classic dessert. Move over lemon, there’s a new kid in town! And this one’s gluten free too!
Actually, the new ‘kid’ has been around a few years. I first posted it in 2015 after being asked to create a recipe on behalf of British Lion Eggs to showcase the humble egg as part of their egg recipes campaign. Let’s be honest… eggs are a bit of an oval-shaped wonder…
And meringue pies contain loads of them! This particular recipe for rhubarb meringue pie has whole egg in the pastry, egg yolks in the filling and egg whites in the meringue.
Why eggs are so great
Eggs are incredibly versatile and give great value… both nutritional and economical. Their qualities are really quite astounding, not least because they can be cooked in so many different ways with completely different results. Whether scrambled, poached or baked… ‘omeletted’, fried or boiled, there is an egg for every mood… And that’s just for starters.
Used in baking they offer the ability to help bind, thicken, glaze, raise or even clarify. In gluten free baking they are a godsend, adding structure and moisture.
But they are also one of the healthiest foods. Packed with protein, incredibly low in carbohydrate and fantastically rich in vitamins D, B2, B12, iodine, selenium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs are low-calorie nutrition bombs. What’s not to love?
For me, eggs have to be free range. The welfare of the chooks that produce them is really important. A happy chicken with plenty of freedom to roam and scratch with its pals, produces a far superior, richer, wonderfully-yolked egg. Worth every extra penny they cost, both in moral credits and flavour.
Recipes that showcase eggs and why Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie was chosen
When asked to create a recipe that showcased eggs, I thought long and hard before settling on rhubarb and strawberry meringue pie. There are so many dishes that could be chosen… From tortilla and frittata to quiche, Shakshuka and omelette. We can even offer a fabulous Scotch Egg with either hen or goose eggs.
On the sweet side, flourless cakes are also fairly reliant on eggs… We have delicious flourless recipes for orange cake, chocolate mini rolls, squidgy chocolate roulade and a perfectly dense and fudgy chocolate torte. And although not flourless, a wonderful white Angel Food Cake which uses no less than 5 large egg whites.
If we’re talking egg whites, there’s meringues and cookies too… Whether Pavlova or pretty Meringue Bites, Chocolate-Espresso Puddle Cookies or Soft Amaretti Cookies, egg whites are at the heart. But what to do with the yolks? A jar of rhubarb curd or citrus curd maybe? Or perhaps some ice cream?
At heart I am a dessert girl. The savoury options weren’t going to cut it. Whittled down, Rhubarb Meringue Pie was eventually chosen because it flaunts the qualities of eggs in so many ways…. Helping to bind, set and add an airy lightness. With eggs supporting every element of the dessert, it was really a ‘no-brainer’.
Meringue Pies… origins and adulterations
Lemon Meringue Pie is a pretty quintessential dessert. Its actual origins however are unclear. The Americans claim it as their creation… confidently asserting that it was invented in the 18th century by a Philadelphian pastry chef called Elizabeth Goodfellow. Evidence fails however to definitively confirm this. No published recipe can be attributed directly to Mrs Goodfellow… There does appear to be a recipe linked by one of her students – a ‘Lemon Pudding’ which includes an optional pastry base. But the full pastry + curd + meringue is difficult to firmly identify.
In my quest to find out more about its history, other stories emerge. Some food historians are as clear as the Americans in their claims that the Lemon Meringue Pie was in fact, the invention of a Swiss pastry chef – Alexander Frehse… Sometime in the 19th century, he apparently decided to combine lemon pudding with meringue and the classic LMP was born.
Who knows? And do we really care? For sure though, the lemon meringue pie is ripe for adulteration. And at Gluten Free Alchemist, we love to ‘play’ with gluten free puddings.
Lemon has given way to berries for an incredible red-filled Raspberry Meringue Pie, an alternative citrus Orange and Lime Meringue Pie and now, this sumptuous Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie. Search the internet and you can also find Blackcurrant Meringue Pie, Cranberry & Orange Meringue Pie and even Chocolate Meringue Pie… Despite my love of chocolate, I’m not 100% on the last one… It sounds potentially a little over-sweet.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie – seasonal gluten free wow!
Both rhubarb and strawberries are available in the supermarket pretty much all year round. They are however, both seasonal crops. And both combine to be harvestable together in the UK from late May and through the summer. Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie may just be the perfect summer dessert to stop the show.
One of the reasons traditional Lemon Meringue Pie works so well, is because lemons are tangy. Their sharpness perfectly offsets sugary meringue. Rhubarb also shares that tart quality, making it another great pie pairing. Add wonderful sweet strawberries however and you start to achieve serious levels of ‘wow’.
But we go a stage further. Combine the fruit with gluten free pistachio, lime and cardamom pastry and you have a seriously sophisticated bunch of flavours. The tartness of the filling marries superbly with the nutty, slightly cardamom-floral pastry and sweet vanilla meringue. Layers of firm, crisp, fragrant pastry and creamy, dreamy pink tangy filling… All topped with pillowy, mallowy meringue. Tempted?
Can I use plain shortcrust instead of gluten free pastry for this pie?
Yes. Absolutely. As long as the pastry is suitable for making a sweet pie, you can use any pastry you like. Your pastry doesn’t have to be gluten free (as long as you can eat wheat… obviously).
Can I make Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie dairy free or Vegan?
Dairy free? Yes. Just sub the butter for a good-quality dairy free alternative.
Vegan? No. My recipe for Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie is pretty egg-heavy and clearly not vegan. Fortunately we can eat eggs here and see them as really important nutrition to our Coeliac diet. And there is something about the texture of traditional meringue pie that (for me, personally) wouldn’t be the same without them. However, If you are unable to eat eggs, my good friend Glutarama has now developed a Vegan Rhubarb Meringue Pie alternative.
Have you made my gluten free Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie?
If you should make my gluten free Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie (or indeed any of my recipes), stay in touch and let me know. I always love to hear from you. Leave a comment, send me an e-mail or tag me on social media (all my links are top right of this page (desk top) or click on the square at the top (mobile).
If you love to cook and bake, we have loads of other recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist… Don’t forget to check out our Gluten Free Recipe Book (Photographic Index).
Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue Pie with Lime, Pistachio & Cardamom Pastry
- 1x 9 inch (23 cm) loose-bottomed pie tin (or use more smaller ones)
- flat knife
- sharp knife
- piping bag and nozzle – optional
- serving plate
Lime, Pistachio & Cardamom Pastry (gluten free)
- 110 g brown rice flour fine
- 40 g corn flour (starch)
- 50 g finely ground toasted pistachio nuts
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 50 g unsalted butter cold and cubed or DF alternative
- 50 g margarine or lard cold and cubed
- 50 g soft light brown sugar
- 2 pods cardamom – seeds only finely ground
- 1 zest lime finely grated (you need the juice for the filling)
- 1 large egg UK large
- 1 lime juice – made up to 1½ to 2 tablespoons liquid with very cold water
Rhubarb & Strawberry Curd Filling
- 4 sticks rhubarb washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
- 400 g fresh strawberries de-stalked and cut in half
- ½ lime – juice
- 150 g golden caster sugar
- 30 g corn flour (starch) + 1 tbsp cold water
- 3 large egg yolks UK large (save the whites for the meringue)
- 40 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative – cut into cubes
- 3 large egg whites
- 170 g white caster sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean powder not liquid (optional)
- Weigh and mix together the flours, ground pistachio, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Rub the butter and margarine/lard into the flour mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add and stir in the sugar, ground cardamom & lime zest.
- Lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice/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 3 to 4 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.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Curd Filling
- Place the cut rhubarb, strawberries and lime juice in a large saucepan and gently heat until simmering, stirring frequently, until the fruit releases its liquid, becomes soft and breaks down.
- Remove from the heat and push the cooked fruit through a sieve to separate the liquid from the fibrous pulp. Discard the pulp.
- You should now have approximately 460 ml fruit puree. Pour this back into a large clean saucepan and add the sugar.
- Mix the corn flour with about 1 tablespoon cold water to make a paste and add this to the pan, stirring to combine evenly.
- 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.
- Beat the egg yolks into the fruit 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 in a clean bowl to soft peaks.
- Mix the sugar with the vanilla bean powder (if using) and gradually add to the egg whites 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 rhubarb-strawberry tarts, making sure it reaches the edges to seal.
- Carefully remove the hot baking tray from the oven and place the tart(s) onto it (use a spatula 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
© 2019-2023 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
With thanks to British Lion Eggs and Total Media for providing the opportunity to share my recipe (2015). I was not paid or recompensed to write this post and all views represented are my own.