Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Citrus Meringue Pie

Does that meringue look awesome or what?
The idea for this pie was born from the fact that I had 5 egg whites and a zested lemon in the fridge from other cooking projects (I don't remember what those projects were, actually, which scares me a bit as I've made  all the egg white ones in the past week...), a dying orange, lime, and four tangerines in the pantry, and an undeniable craving for something tart in my pie roundup. 

As usual when my bookmarks fail me, I googled a recipe and found one that was, conveniently, fairly healthy!  Of course, I had to substitute.  That's just the way it goes around here.

Citrus Meringue Pie
Adapted from fitness magazine

1 pre-baked pie crust

Citrus curd:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (or substitute part lime juice, maybe a bit of tangerine or grapefruit, or store-bought lemon juice)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (NOT the canned pre-sweetened kind; you can use tangerine, or grapefruit if you add a little bit more sugar)
3 whole eggs
3 egg whites
Zest of 1/2 each: lemon, lime, orange (or use about 2 tsp. total of any citrus zest)
Pinch of salt

4 egg whites (MAKE SURE no water gets into these, or they won't whip up like they're supposed to!)
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the curd:
First, configure your pots and bowls.  You will need a heat-safe bowl (usually metal) that fits on top of a pot with boiling water in it.  The bowl should not touch the boiling water.  See this picture.  Start with the bowl separate and begin boiling your water.

Whisk juices, sugar, eggs, and egg whites in your heat-safe bowl until the sugar is dissolved.  Place over the boiling pot and whisk constantly until very thick, approx. 10 minutes.  (Use your own judgment on this one)  Don't let it bubble up, or the eggs will curdle.  Yuck.  Strain mixture if it has lumps, and stir in zests and vanilla.  Pour into crust.

For meringue:
Heat oven to 400.  Whip egg whites and cream of tartar, using a clean and dry hand whisk or whisk attachment on a stand mixer.  Beat until soft peaks form; add sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff peaks form. 

Spoon onto the citrus curd, and spread to edges so it doesn't shrink while baking.  Put the pie in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is beautifully light brown.  Remove and let cool on counter for at least 10 minutes.  Place pie in fridge* until serving (at least an hour is best, or it will be runny.)  Enjoy!

*You can use foil, but do not cover the pie with plastic wrap if you want your meringue to be pretty.

Served too soon after baking.  Still delicious.

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Did this recipe work for you? Tips, suggestions, or advice?