Friday, June 7, 2013

Rhubarb Meringue Pie...and poppies and lupines...oh my!!

 I am always happy when my rhubarb is ready to eat - I certainly look forward to it each year. This year I decided to make this pretty simple rhubarb meringue pie a la Martha hoping that mine would also come out pink because honestly who wouldn't love a pink pie but alas, as well I should have known, having made this curd twice before, mine became pale tangerine after the addition of the best ever egg yolks in the known universe from Farmetta Farm in nearby Morrill, Maine - despite the fact that it was not pink it tasted terrific and I can't wait to make one more before the rhubarb wains.

So let's get cracking with our pie:

First let's make our standard

EASY PEASY SWEET TART CRUST: 
Pre heat oven to 350F

 This recipe is enough for one regular sized tart case 9” diameter or I used a deep, nearly 2", 71/2" diameter pie tin as I like my tarts with lots of filling  

 11/2 cups/6ozs of sifted unbleached white flour

1/2 cup/2ozs confectioners/icing sugar


1 stick/ 4ozs butter VERY COLD


1 large egg yolk

 
1. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium sized bowl.


2. Grate the butter into the dry ingredient and rub in until like breadcrumbs.

3. Add egg yolk and blend and squush carefully until the dough sticks together. This may take a little time but despair not it will come together - just don't let it warm up - pie crusts pastry should always be kept as cold as possible to make it flaky and divine.


4.Tear dough into big chunks…..place strategically in pie pan and start squushing to a create a smooth even covering of the entire pan…the beauty of this crust is that it does NOT shrink at all…it stays put…good crust!!


5. Bob into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


6. Heat your oven to 375F

7. Take the pie crust out of the fridge, prick all over with a fork to prevent bubbles forming under the crust.

8. Line with parchment. Fill with pie weights or dried beans or rice and bake until edges are golden and set about 20 to 25 minutes. 

9. Remove from oven and take out the weights and parchment.

10. Return to oven and bake until bottom is dry and light gold, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.

Next make the RHUBARB CURD - bright, buttery, sweet, tangy:

2lb rhubarb cut into small pieces
1. Put into the jug of a blender and use the highest setting to make the rhubarb into a sauce - you may have to add a little bit and a little bit of water as you go and keep pushing the rhubarb down - you want to add as little water as possible so you don't, literally, water the flavour down. Then drain the 'sauce' through say a coffee filter until you get 12 fluid ounces of rhubarb juice.
The juice you will have is now pink - my preferred colour - alas it will not stay that way for me - but if your egg yolks are not as yellow as mine perhaps yours will

12ozs/1 1/2cups sugar

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch/cornflour

3 egg yolks

3 tablespoons/11/2 ozs butter

2. Whisk the cornstarch/cornflour, sugar and salt together in a bowl and then whisk them into the juice.

3. Put into a saucepan and gently heat until boiling and boil for about 1 minute until it clears and starts to thicken.

4. Put egg yolks in a bowl and slowly whisk the hot rhubarb into it until evenly blended.

5. Return mixture to the pan and the heat and gently boil again for another minute until it really thickens - I did not let mine thicken enough for indeed how thick is thick...

6. Add butter to rhubarb mix and whisk until blended - now put aside to cool.

My rhubarb curd ended up quite orange as you can see in the picture below because I used the fantastic yolks from Farmetta Farm eggs :)

My rhubarb curd (although I can't really call it a curd as it has flour in it) was a bit loose so I found this very technical explanation of making a lemon meringue pie for you to read about how NOT to make a runny/loose pie - it's quite a lot of reading but very informative - if you've made a lemon meringue pie before and had no problems then maybe don't bother reading this as it may put you off your game - http://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com/2011/05/lemon-meringue-pie.html 

I think perhaps my issue was I just didn't let it cook to thick enough and also I did stir it to cool it down and apparently that is not good form so don't stir yours once it is done and is cooling in the pan. I think after you have cooled your pie and if it is not set you can also rebake if for a while and it will set up more - just make sure to cover your pie edges with foil to set up them from getting too brown - allow to cool completely again - maybe for another 4 hours until you're sure it is set or if you are like me you just want to eat it and don't care that much if it isn't perfectly set.

Now poured your cooled rhubarb filling into the cooled pie shell and bob, covered, into the fridge until it set for four hours at the least and preferably over night.

And the final part of the pie: 

MERINGUE TOPPING: Heat the oven to 450F 

INGREDIENTS:

3 egg whites at room temperature - this is importnat as it gets a lot more olume into the eggs - cold egg whites just don't whip as well as room temp. ones. 

41/2 tablespoons sugar

1. Whip the egg whites until stiff

2. Add a tablespoon of sugar at a time and whip, whip, whip between additions until all the sugar has been added and the result is glossy and dense and divine.

3. Dollop gracefully atop your curd in the shell:
4. Bob into a 450F oven for about 2 minutes but keep your eyes on the pie and rotate if necessary to evenly brown thus:
As you can see mine was a tad slumpy but it tasted so good what did I care!!! 
And now for some poppy and lupine pictures from my garden today - these flowers together, their colours combined with the vivid green background, make me swoon - Monet eat your heart out! Tonight really heavy rain is coming in so I fear my poppies will be just a dream by morning.


A little bee busy doing her important work - thanks Busy Bee!!

Happy Baking - Patricia 
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