This is the second of two recipes that were requested in a recent instagram poll I posted. Blood orange season is upon us and, as one of my favourite fruits, I always try and find a new way to use them. This is my blood orange meringue pie. I was really pleased how the orange curd turned out, it was so delicious and just the right consistency that it held its shape, but remained soft and creamy. I will warn you though, this is not the simplest of recipes and it also requires some more advanced kitchen equipment. Italian meringue requires a good mixer, a sugar thermometer and a blow torch. I cannot recommend trying the meringue without these. The temperature of the sugar syrup is important for the meringue to cook and hold its shape. I have also not tried to brown the meringue under a hot grill, Italian meringue tends to burn very easily, so I prefer a blow torch as you can control the heat more easily. So if this doesn’t put you off, please give this recipe a try, I doubt you will be disappointed.
Blood Orange Meringue Pie – serves 6 to 8
For the pastry:
180g plain flour
100g coconut oil (it should be in a solid state) or vegan butter
a pinch of salt
For the blood orange curd:
100 g sugar
65 g cornflour
2.5 / 250 ml oat milk (i recommend the creamy barista kind)
1dl/ 100 ml water
Juice and zest of 2 – 3 blood oranges (you need 2 dl/ 200 ml of juice)
0.5 dl/ 50 ml lemon juice
a good pinch of salt
1 heaped tbsp of vegan butter
For the meringue:
1 dl/ 100 ml aquafaba
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100 g sugar
0.6 dl/ 60 ml water
preheat the oven to 175 degrees c. You will need a 20cm loose bottomed tin.
To make the pastry combine the flour and salt and add the coconut oil/ butter. Quickly rub the oil/ butter into the flour until you have fine breadcrumbs. Next, add a few teaspoons of ice cold water at a time , stirring in with a knife until your pastry begins to come together. You should then be able to use you hands to form the pastry into a ball. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 -30 minutes.
Flour a surface and a rolling pin and roll out your pastry to around 3 mm thickness. Use the pastry to line a 20 cm loose bottomed tin and trim off the excess. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and put in the freezer for an hour.
Remove from the freezer and blind bake the pastry in the oven at 175 degrees c. for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and baking beans/ rice and bake for a further 8 – 12 minutes, until the pastry turns a light golden colour. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile make your curd. Add all the ingredients except the butter into a large pan. Heat over a medium heat, stirringly constantly, until the curd thickens. Take off the heat and stir in the butter. Pour into your cooled pastry case and place in the fridge to set.
Finally, make the Italian meringue. Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to the bowl of a standing mixer. Whisk the aquafaba until it forms stiff peaks. This can take a while, be patient as you need it as stiff as possible.
Next make a sugar syrup. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Using a sugar thermometer allow the syrup to continue boiling until it reaches a temperature of between 116 and 120 degrees c.
Turn your mixer back on and slowly drizzle the syrup into the aquafaba as it whisks. Finally turn the mixer up to full for a final one to two minute whisk. The meringue should be thick and glossy.
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe to cover the curd your desired pattern. Use a blow torch to caramelise the outside of the meringue. Be careful as it can catch and burn easily. Serve immediately.