Who likes Lemon Meringue Pie? This is my latest take on it. Updated….. Trendy 2015 flavour combo of the season……… I introduce to you my Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie………
Many months ago, I made my first revamp of the LMP…… a Raspberry Meringue Pie. It was quite a hit in my household……….. but now it is time to tinker again with the popular 19th Century dessert.
Sadly, over the winter months, my garden rhubarb plant managed to take its last breath. Too much rain and not enough drainage I fear. I loved my rhubarb plant…… so I replaced it as quick as I could……. carefully planted in a new spot in the garden, with (hopefully) a better chance of survival over the wet winters and dry summers we seem to be experiencing in the South East.
So far, it is flourishing and has recently managed to produce enough delicious pink sticks to warrant a dessert in its honour.
I always think rhubarb is such an eloquently British fruit (or is it a vegetable?), which grows and flourishes (except in my garden) to deliver stalk after stalk of distinctive pink tartness……. and transports me back to my childhood in a flash…… Rhubarb & Custard sweets in small paper bags being sucked furiously on the way home from school…… Rhubarb Crumble…… pink, sharp, soft fruit compote, topped with sugary crunchy crumble topping, served warm with custard for pudding after Sunday roast……. Fighting with siblings for a share of the custard skin…..
Now if you think about traditional Lemon Meringue Pie, it works so well because the filling is incredibly tangy and pairs so perfectly against the sugary meringue. Okay…… a stick of rhubarb is not the same as a lemon, but it shares the same sharp quality, so is pretty much guaranteed to work as Rhubarb Meringue Pie.
Add another very seasonal fruit….. the wonderful red sweet strawberry and you start to achieve the wow factor. Combine the fruit with a sweet gluten free pistachio, lime and cardamom short-crust 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 filling, all topped with pillowy meringue, cooked to a crisp edge with a soft, fluffy, airy centre……
If you know anything about meringue pies (other than that they are amazingly delicious), you will know that they are made with eggs….. Whole egg in the pastry, egg yolks in the filling and egg whites in the meringue…..
I am always amazed at the versatility and value of eggs. Their qualities are really quite astounding….. They can be cooked in so many different ways with completely different results. From scrambled, poached or baked to omeletted, fried and boiled – hard or soft, there is an egg for every mood…… In baking they might help bind, thicken, glaze, raise or even clarify.
And they are really good for you too…… Stuffed full of protein, incredibly low in carbs and rich in vitamins D, B2, B12, iodine, selenium and other essential vitamins and minerals. What is not to love?
For me, eggs have to be free range. The welfare of the chooks that produce them is really important and in my (humble) opinion, a happy chicken which has plenty of space and freedom to roam and scratch in open space with its pals, produces a far superior, richer, wonderfully-yolked egg. Worth every extra penny they cost, both in moral credits and flavour.
I was recently asked to create a recipe post on behalf of the good people at British Lion Eggs to showcase the humble egg as part of their egg recipes campaign. British Lion Eggs are critical in the UK to ensuring high standards of egg safety and launched their Lion Code of Practice in 1998, effectively eradicating salmonella in British eggs and making UK production among the safest in the world. This is not the same for imported eggs.
The UK Lion flock of free range chickens is the largest in Europe, which in addition to reassurances about safety, reduces supply-chain food miles and helps to support British farmers. However they are produced, British Lion eggs and egg products are stamped or labelled by the British Lion standard making them easy to identify and trust.
But at heart I am a dessert girl…… and I think this Rhubarb Meringue Pie is perfect for showing off some of the qualities the egg has to offer…… including its ability to bind, set or add an airy lightness. Quintessential English flavours in a truly fantastic pud!
I am sharing this dish with the following :
Simple & In Season with Ren Behan.
Simply Eggcellent with Belleau Kitchen.
Cook Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.
Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Meringue Pie with Lime, Pistachio & Cardamom Pastry (Makes 1 x 9 inch/23 cm tart or 5 x 4 inch/10 cm tartlets)
seeds from 2 large fresh cardamom pods – finely ground
Method – Pastry
- Get ready your pie tin(s) – if you use non-stick, they won’t need any preparation, otherwise lightly flour the inside.
- Weigh and mix the flours, ground pistachio, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Rub the butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add and stir in the sugar, ground cardamom & lime zest.
- Lightly beat the egg with the lime juice and water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix with a flat knife until it comes together as a dough.
- Dust your hands with corn flour and gently knead the dough to ensure it is evenly blended.
- Do not chill the pastry dough – use straight away.
- Lay a large piece of cling film on your rolling surface and dust liberally with flour. Place your dough in the middle and flatten slightly. Dust the top of the pastry with flour and lay another piece of cling film on top. It is now ready for rolling. (If you are making smaller pies, you may find it easier to cut off and roll smaller pieces for each individual tart one at a time).
- Roll the dough (inside the cling film sheets) out to a thickness of about ½ cm. Re-flour if it starts to stick to the cling film
- Line the pie tins with the pastry and carefully trim the edges with a sharp knife.
- Now chill the pastry in the fridge for about half an hour in the tins, to allow to rest.
- Whilst chilling, pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
- Line the pastry cases with baking paper and fill with baking beans.
- Blind bake for 10 minutes with the baking beans and then remove the beans and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Method – 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 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 clean saucepan and add the sugar.
- Mix the corn flour with a tiny amount of cold water to make a paste and add this to the pan, stirring to combine evenly.
- Gently heat the mixture, stirring continually, until it comes to a simmer. Continue to stir over a low heat for a minute or so until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Add and beat in the egg yolks one at a time using an electric whisk and then add and beat in the butter.
- Spoon the filling into the pastry cases equally and smooth the surface.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the filling to set.
Method – Meringue
- Whilst you are making the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk in a large very clean bowl to soft peaks.
- Mix the sugar with the vanilla bean powder and gradually add to the egg whites a little at a time, continuing to whisk until the meringue has a stiff, glossy appearance.
- Pipe or spread the meringue onto the top of the tarts, spreading to the edge to seal.
- Place the tarts on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes until the meringue surface is crisp and golden. Check frequently whilst cooking to make sure it is not burning and turn the oven down slightly if you are concerned.
- Eat warm or cold. Delicious with cream.