Worth-it Rhubarb Meringue Pie

June 14, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Worth-it Rhubarb Meringue Pie 1
Rhubarb love can be tough. I wanted to do something a little fancy with the umpteenth bunch of rhubarb I bought and decided pie was the way to go. I turned to Nigella Lawson and her rhubarb meringue pie sounded like just the thing. Nigella gives fair warning when she admits she cannot “pretend baking a meringue pie is easy”. I, with rose colored rhubarb glasses on, decided that would not stop me, and set about baking.

It starts off easy enough, with pre-heating an oven and chopping a few stalks of rhubarb. Then, however, you get to the crust and the trouble starts. It shouldn’t be all that difficult- mashing together butter, flour and orange juice, chilling the resulting dough ball and rolling it out. However, between the warmth of my kitchen, the resulting stickiness of the dough and the nigh impossibility of rolling out said dough in one piece, I was a sweaty mess by the time the crust was ready to be cooked. Perhaps I should not have been surprised, then, when I peeked in the oven ten minutes later and the crust had risen alarmingly. I had forgotten to add pie weights.
Hoping to salvage the situation, I pulled the hot-hot-hot pan from the oven and came at it with a bag of chick peas I use for blind baking. In my attempts to avoid severe burns while getting the crust back into the oven as quickly as possible, I paid no attention to the curious ripping sound I heard. And then the bag split in half. There were chick peas everywhere- on the counter, on the floor, in my cleavage. (Don’t ask. I don’t know how they got there.)
Worth-it Rhubarb Meringue Pie 3
So there was that. Luckily, quite a few chick peas made it into the pie dish and helped to deflate the crust somewhat while it finished baking. That hurdle out of the way, I set about the next step: filling the cooled crust with rhubarb and a custard mixture. What Nigella didn’t say is that you won’t have enough custard to cover your fruit if you use a pie dish that is bigger than hers. (What do you mean I should have figured this out myself? There were chick peas in my cleavage by this point. Chick peas!) Hoping for the best I plopped my dish of not-quite-covered fruit in the oven anyway and baked it for half an hour.
Because of the scarcity of custard in my dish, I couldn’t tell after those 30 minutes whether the mixture had set, but the rhubarb was bubbling merrily so I proceeded with the next step: whipping egg whites for the meringue topping. This, at least, was straightforward. The egg whites went into my KitchenAid and I got to watch while the machine did the work. All that was left for me to do was add a bit of sugar and get creative with a spatula when the whites were ready to go on top of the hot rhubarb. Fifteen minutes or so in a hot oven later, and the pie was ready for dinner with my parents.
It’s a pity that the billowing meringue top was a little less billowing after a 1,5 hour transfer and that the custard had not, in fact, set completely. One bite and all that (plus the peas in my cleavage) was forgotten, though, buried in zingy rhubarb and sweet white clouds. My mom even declared it “the best rhubarb pie she’d ever had”. Never mind that it was also the first- my fruity labor had paid off.
Worth-it Rhubarb Meringue Pie 4<
Rhubarb Meringue Pie
Serves 6
From How to Eat, Nigella Lawson
pie dough from your favorite recipe, made with orange juice as the liquid
800 gr rhubarb
juice from half an orange
2 egg whites + 2 egg yolks
270 gr sugar
2 tbsp flour
30 gr melted butter
¼ tsp cream of tartar (I skipped this, to no apparent ill effect)
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pie dough, cover a 21 cm pie dish with it and chill for at least 20 minutes. Blind bake chilled crust for approximately 20 minutes, until cooked but not browned. Give it some time to cool down before you add your rhubarb filling.
Meanwhile, clean and chop the rhubarb (1 cm pieces are fine). Place in a wide pot with the orange juice and cook until the raw edge has just disappeared from the fruit. Place in a sieve over a bowl (to collect the juices that drain off) and leave for at least ten minutes.
Mix the egg yolks with 150 gr of the sugar, the melted butter and the flour. Add enough of the rhubarb-orange juice to make a smooth, more or less liquid mixture- add a little plain orange juice if needed. Put the rhubarb into the baked crust and spread evenly. Pour over the egg mixture and place in the oven for 20- 30 minutes, until the yolk mixture has just set.
In the mean time, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add 60 gr of sugar and continue beating until you have a firm, shiny meringue. Add the rest of the sugar and the cream of tartar.
Spread the meringue over the hot rhubarb mixture, completely covering the fruit. Sprinkle a little sugar over the meringue and return the pie to the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown in places. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Categories: Cooking Stories

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