From the Evening Standard, January 5th 2012
I love meringue pie, it’s utterly comforting, nostalgic and just beautiful to eat. It’s especially nice in January, after an endless parade of green and brown food, when gorgeous Yorkshire forced rhubarb and bright bloody oranges arrive. If you can’t get blood oranges, feel free to substitute normal ones.
Many meringue pie recipes call for cornflour to thicken the curd but I prefer not to use it here. Some time in the fridge will allow it all to set. The results are a little sloppier than the traditional version perhaps, but the flavour is terrific.
Rhubarb and blood orange curd
Makes 2 small jars
*200g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
*50g unsalted butter, plus a few knobs
*50g caster sugar finely grated zest of 1 blood orange and juice of 2
*2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Roast the rhubarb for 15 minutes until tender. Drain in a sieve. Meanwhile, melt the butter and sugar in a double boiler. Add the zest, juice, eggs and yolks and cook gently while stirring. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, take it from the heat. Stir through the rhubarb. Store in a covered bowl or jars.
Rhubarb and blood orange meringue pie
Makes a 25cm tart
For the sweet shortcrust pastry:
*75g unsalted butter, diced
*150g plain flour, sifted, plus more to dust
*25g icing sugar, sifted
*1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with the same amount of water
For the filling:
*1 x quantity rhubarb and blood orange curd (see above)
For the meringue:
*3 egg whites
*50g icing sugar, sifted
To make the pastry, add the butter to the flour and icing sugar and rub it in with your fingertips until it looks like crumbs. Add the egg to bring together, mould into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry out and line a 25cm pie dish. Line with baking parchment, fill with baking beans, and blind bake for 20-25 minutes. Increase the temperature to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Pour the curd into the shell.
Whisk the egg whites until they start to form stiff peaks, add half the sugar, whisk again, then sift in the cornflour and gently fold in the remaining sugar.
Spoon the meringue on top of the curd, trying to create lots of little peaks that will brown and ensuring it touches the pastry edge.
Bake for five minutes or so, until the meringue starts to brown. Allow the tart to cool and the curd to set for a couple of hours in the fridge. Serve cold. Try not to eat it all in one sitting, as I have done!