Thursday, March 1, 2007

Citrus Meringue Pie

Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches) . My favorite recipe is on the blog sidebar with the apple pie recipe.

Filling -

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup spring water (I'm not into "yuppie water" that much, but tap water may impart unwanted  taste)
1 cup pure Florida orange juice (no pulp)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup  fresh lemon juice (if juicing real lemons, bring to room temperature and then roll on a clean surface to release the juice before cutting and juicing).
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest (the finely grated part of the colorful rind)
1 teaspoon orange zest

3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

Directions :

Roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.

Bake at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 350°.

As that bakes,  in a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in water and orange juice until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly, stiring constantly.  Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer (mixture will be thick).

Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks whisking so the egg doesn't curdle and  return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, butter, and lemon and orange zest. Pour into prepared crust.

For meringue: Have ingredients ready, using jumbo eggs brought to room temperature. Even the tiniest bit of egg yoke will make your meringue blah, so take your time in separating, putting the whites in a small dish  (that you've treated to a very soapy, hot water wash and rinse before drying with a clean towel). You also want to use an extra hot soapy wash for all utensils and the bowl you will beat the meringue in, rinsing in extra extra hot water (you will need those attractive rubber gloves). I'm not "Miss Sanitation" but it does make a difference with meringue to use spotlessly clean implements with no trace of oil from surface or hands on them

Use glass or metal bowl but NOT plastic that has also been washed this way.  Using a warm bowl will add volume to the already room temperature egg whites so add some hot water to your clean bowl and just before mixing, drain and wipe clean.

Add egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar to bowl and beat on medium until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Pour hot filling into crust.

Spread meringue evenly over filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

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