Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pie Party 2012: Tangy Orange Meringue Pie

It was Monday evening when I caught wind of Pie Party 2012 leaving me only a short amount of time to pull together some sort of pastry creation to share in the event. It wasn't until Tuesday evening however that any action took place outside of a few suggestions solicited via Facebook. While perusing my options, I investigated chess pie (which I've never had before) which led me to lemon chess pie (also untasted by me) and finally lemon meringue (yum!).

My next step of action was deciding on what sort of crust: pastry or crumb. Mom voted for crumb, so crumb it was. Now what to fill said crust with? The adventure of securing a recipe in which I would base my lemon meringue pie off of began and ended rather quickly. Some time ago I made a grapefruit curd based off of Eat, Live, Run's blood orange tart recipe with great success. And so, I would use that recipe for my pie; it was done.

Off to the grocery store I went with a short list in hand. After grabbing a happy looking yellow pepper on my way, I headed directly for the citrus. Mandarins? Nope. 5 pound bag of citrus? Nope. $1.59 small grapefruits? Nope. And then I spotted them: pomellos. And then I remembered... I had one on the kitchen table. And it all came together.

I left the grocery store with that yellow pepper, two bananas, four apricots and some butter chicken sauce.

Upon arriving home, I eagerly began setting up my curd making extravaganza. Getting ahead of myself, I filled a pot with water to assemble a double boiler, just as I had done with the grapefruit curd. Taking a step back, I remembered that I needed to juice the fruit in question first. Now for those of you pomello virgins (fact: I was one at this point) this is what they look like:

Right, so the thing's huge. No big deal.

I cut into it, and realize that it has seeds (and they're also huge):

Okay, I really should have expected that. Not sure why I didn't...

It's somewhere around this point in time that I realize that:

a) there isn't any way I'm going to be able to juice this thing on my normal sized glass citrus reamer
b) there isn't any juice dripping down my wrists after cutting into it...
c) I really should have gotten the chocolate I was considering getting at the store

So what does a girl do?


Okay, not nothing: "When making pomelo juice, carefully peel off the outer skin. Do not discard the inner skin as it contains anti-cancerous elements. Many people mix sugar syrup or honey to sweeten very sour pomelos."

So, I try the reamer.


I dissect half of the fruit and put it in the Magic Bullet.


I put the only slightly mangled flesh into my mortar & pestle and bang the shit out of it.


I transfer it to my Über fine mesh sieve and using the back of a soup spoon attempt to squeeze any juice out of it. 


Okay, not nothing...

This is a shot glass, for the record!

Fact: It is impossible to juice a pomelo.

And so, I headed back to the (other, with later hours) grocery store, defeated.

This is what they had to say about pomelos...

Juicy my ass...

An hour or so later, I had organic Valencia orange lime curd cooling in the fridge. Pie assembling would have to wait. As is the case with many things in my life, I'm late to the Pie Party this year.

Tangy Orange Meringue Pie

For the crust:
1.5 cups almond flour
3 tbsp organic cane sugar or other sweetener
3 tbsp melted organic butter or allergen friendly alternative

Mix all ingredients in a pie plate and press into crust form.
Bake at 350F until golden brown. Check at 8 minutes, and monitor closely.

For the curd:
2-3 fruit's worth of citrus juice (of your choice)
zest of one of them
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
3 eggs (or two massive duck eggs)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter or allergen friendly alternative

Mix all ingredients in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. 
You can totally use a pot crusted with last night's leftovers that need a little help loosening up.
Whisk your ingredients constantly until they begin to thicken up along the walls of the bowl.
Swap your whisk for a spatula and continue stirring until it has thickened enough to coat the spatula.
When it's done, transfer it to a lidded jar or other container and place in the fridge until it has cooled completely.

For the meringue:
egg whites

I used 5 duck egg whites because that was all the egg product that was in the house! It ended up being way more meringue than I needed (but it didn't go to waste, that's for sure!) This website suggests 2 tbsp of sugar for every egg white. Given that duck eggs are a bit larger than "regular" chicken eggs, I added one more to the count. 6 egg whites (5 duck eggs whites) and 3/4 cup sugar was a little too sweet for my liking, so I would pare it down a bit from there. Perhaps with

Whip in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Slather onto the top of your gorgeous pie & bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the meringue has browned slightly.

Then bribe neighbours or friends to mow your grass in exchange for a piece of pie. 

It'll work, trust me.

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