Posted by: Stephlechef | July 3, 2012

Rhubarb meringue pie

The problem with having an allotment, or knowing someone who has one, is that the fruit/vegetable crop often seems to go on longer than you want it to: i.e. you have had all the strawberries/beans/blackberries you can stomach, and you are left with the “what do I do with it now?” dilemma. Short of filling up the freezer/jars with various forms of compote (neither of which I have room for), it becomes necessary to come up with different ways of eating/cooking certain products. Take rhubarb as a case in point. For the first lot of rhubarb I had this year, I believe I made a crumble. Nice, classic, easy. For the second, a huge carrier bag full, I had rhubarb compote which I ate with yoghurt for breakfast, rhubarb fool (compote mixed with whipped cream) and rhubarb pavlova (compote plonked on a meringue nest). For the third, I came unstuck and didn’t know what on earth to do with it. When I eventually arrived at it, I did think rhubarb meringue pie was a fabulous idea – of course, a quick google showed that, as usual, someone had come up with it long before I did, and to rub salt into the (admittedly small) wound, theirs looks better too. But never mind, here it is – rhubarb meringue pie! (And by the way, I’m not ungrateful to receive free veggies, it’s just a challenge to use them creatively!)

 

Rhubarb meringue pie

(serves 4-6)

 

For the pastry:

Either buy a ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry case and fill it with the rhubarb filling, OR

150g plain flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg yolk (keep the white!!)

ice water

 

Rub the butter and the flour together until its all breadcrumb-y, then bring together using the egg yolk and about a spoonful of ice-cold water, knead a tiny bit to bring it into a ball and leave in the fridge for half an hour or so. (Meanwhile you can be getting on with the rhubarb bit). Also preheat the oven to medium temp, about 160. When the pastry is cool, roll it out and line a 6-7 inch (ish) flan/tart tin (I had spare pastry so you could probably make it bigger). Blind bake using baking beans for about ten minutes, then take out the baking beans and cook for another 5 minutes (make sure you have pricked the bottom or it rises, thanks to the egg!) Remove from the oven (not from the tin, if you have a rubbish tin like me, because it will break. I’ll leave it up to you :)) and you should have a pretty looking pastry case like this:

For the rhubarb:

Rhubarb

Cornflour

Egg yolk

Water

Sugar

I’m a bit useless and don’t really know what I did – plus you can see that mine is still a little bit runny. First, stew the rhubarb (I guess I had about 8 stalks) with a little bit of water and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, until it starts to break down (I let it completely break down, as I don’t really like that stringy texture of rhubarb)… taste it and see how the sweetness is going. If your mouth still puckers, add more sugar! Then I mixed a spoonful of cornflour with some water and stirred that in, then added an egg yolk (keep this white too!) and whisked it over the heat so that it didn’t scramble the egg. I think the key is just don’t add too much liquid so that the rhubarb isn’t too wet in the first place, you could also drain some out to keep it water-free, then hopefully the egg and the cornflour help it to set. Perhaps next time I make this I’ll actually write down amounts 🙂 Anyway, that’s the rhubarb done, leave it to cool for a bit while you make the meringue.

 

For the meringue:

2 egg whites

75g caster sugar

Remember those two egg whites you were supposed to keep?! Well here they are! Make sure the bowl you are going to whisk them in is clean and dry (I always just give it a quick wipe around with a tea towel to make sure anyway, otherwise they won’t go meringue-y!) and whisk the eggs until they are really foamy. While still whisking, pour in the sugar a little at a time. Then just keep on whisking and whisking (if you don’t have an electric whisk, your arm will probably fall off by now), until you have an almost stiff, glossy meringue mix.

 

Fill the tart case with the rhubarb mix and level it off, then top it with the meringue. You could pipe it- I tried, but made a big mess because the bottom of my piping bag was following me around the pie, dragging across all my lovely piped blobs… so I smoothed it off, then used the back of a teaspoon to make it all textured (texture is good with meringue because then you get some really cooked bits, some less cooked bits, etc) Just make sure all the rhubarb underneath is covered so it doesn’t burn)

Beautiful meringue!

 

Cook it at about 180/200c until the meringue is brown-ish and hard to touch on top, but still a bit squishy underneath. Then leave to cool and it’s done!

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