APRICOT MERINGUE PIE
Well the flavour of the apricot filling turned out divine, its structure was stable and so was the meringue. The apricot puree could be replaced with some other fruit, mango, papaya or perhaps passion fruit? But I have to say that apricot meringue pie made with fresh apricots has to be there at the height of culinary deliciousness.
The confusion on meringue pies is absolute, even well respected cooking sites; chef’s advice columns pertaining to the ins and outs of meringue pie fillings and meringues is full of bologna. In particular there is a very good-looking apricot meringue pie on line, the one with the six eggs and the cooked meringue with a sure to fail recipe… First of all cornstarch cooked for a total of 17 minutes will never set and cooking the meringue and then baking it at a high temperature is nothing short of a gastronomical blunder so don’t try it. After a failed attempt, think Zsuzsa think, think, I went back to a very old lemon meringue pie recipe; and adapted it to my rapidly ripening apricots. The recipe is at least sixty years old, but it cuts through a lot of the meringue pie hoo-ha. And one more thing! Don’t ever cut a meringue pie with a wet knife; pastry and water don’t do well together. Always let the pie cool down to room temperature and use a well buttered knife to slice it. Well OK I confess, the pie was still warm when I sliced it.
1/2 batch of pie pastry [click on the link for the recipe]
320 g very ripe apricots [almost a pound]
1-1/2 cups sugar
5-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
3 Tbsp lemon juice [no more]
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
• Wash the apricots, remove the stones and puree in a blander or a food processor.
• Next make the pastry and blind bake the crust at 420F for 15 minutes.
• Remove the beans or the weights and bake the crust for 15 minutes longer.
• Remove the pie from the oven and set it aside.
• Reduce the oven to 350F.
• Next add the sugar and the cornstarch to a medium sized saucepan and whisk to combine.
• Separate the eggs and reserve the whites for use later.
• In a small bowl whisk the 4 egg yolks and set them aside.
• Gradually whisk 3/4 cup of cold water into the pot with the cornstarch mixture.
• Add 3/4 cup of the apricot and discard the remaining puree.
• Place the pot on medium heat [not high] and bring it to the boil.
• Boil the mixture for 1 minute.
• Remove the pot from heat. [Do not turn the heat off your electric stove]
• 1 tablespoon at the time, stir 4 tablespoons of hot apricot mixture into the reserved egg yolks.
• Now very gradually add the egg yolk mixture to the pot, whisking continuously.
• Place the pot back on the medium heat and boil for 1 minute, whisking all the while.
• Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter.
• Add the fresh lemon juice through a fine sieve and stir to combine.
• Pour the filling into the baked pastry shell.
• Next make the meringue.
• Beat the 4 egg whites until frothy.
• Add a little at a time, while beating, 3/4 cup of sugar and beat it until stiff and glossy. • Arrange half of the beaten egg whites on the top, all around the edge first, sealing the space between the pastry and the filling.
• Next pile the remaining egg whites in the middle making a dome shape.
• With the back of the spoon make swirls.
• Place the pie in the oven and bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
• Remove pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool down to room temperature.
• To serve the pie, butter the knife on both sides before each and every cut.
• Store the pie in the fridge for up to 3 days, but do not freeze.
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