Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Need A New Thanksgiving Pie?

Then this is your lucky day, because I have just the pie for you. After the day of making the crème anglais, I had 6 egg whites that I was determined to use at least some of them. Initially I was thinking that I could always make some meringue cookies or something similar. Then I realized that I had never made a meringue pie, and this was the perfect opportunity, so I spent a little time on Recipezaar looking for a meringue pie that used on-hand ingredients. What I didn't expect was how awesome this Cranberry Meringue Pie was going to be. Yes, you read that right, cranberry. Why I'd never heard of this before, I have no idea, but the pie was simple enough to put together.

I began by pre-baking my pie crust. Note to self: get some pie weights. Thank goodness the meringue covered up my horrible free-baked slumping crust. Then as my crust cooled I made the filling, which was easier than it sounded. I basically simmered cranberries with apple juice and sugar until the berries popped. Then this was pressed through a sieve to eliminate the skins and seeds from the berries. To the pressed juice, cornstarch and ginger were added and then the whole thing was cooked until very thick. This was the bottom layer of the pie, and a gorgeous ruby red. The meringue came together just as easily. What intrigued me about this meringue was the addition of lime zest, and it took a lot for me not to sample the meringue before baking. This was spread over the filling, from crust edge to crust edge, and then baked until golden.

The pie is a winner. The tart cranberry is balanced perfectly by the sweet meringue- and the lime zest in the meringue is pure genius. For my first meringue pie, it didn't turn out half bad. I have been thinking that next time I may add just a touch more sugar to the filling. It was a little too tart for Abigail, and she loves cranberries, so I'd love for her to be able to enjoy the pie. I'd also eliminate the ginger, it kind of muddied up the flavor a little- a little orange zest would probably be an excellent addition as well. I should probably also mention that I e-mailed the original poster over on Zaar for her source for the recipe, and she just wasn't sure where it originally came from. An Internet search has not produced the same pie either, and she thought it was from an Agricultural document of some kind. Anyway. Here is the recipe for Cranberry Meringue Pie as written, make changes to suit your tastes, but overall, this one is sure to be a winner for you.

Cranberry Meringue Pie
1 pie crusts -- (9 inch) baked
2 packages fresh cranberries -- (12 ounce)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cranberry-apple juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh ginger -- grated
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime rind -- finely grated

Combine cranberries, one cup of sugar, cran-apple juice and salt in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat; stirring occasionally, until cranberries "pop".

Pour the cranberries through a mesh strainer and discard skins/solids.

Return the drained mix to the saucepan and add the cornstarch and water.

Stir well over medium-high heat and then add ginger.

Bring this mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat after 2 minutes and add the butter and vanilla, mixing well.

Pour this mixture into your pre-baked pie crust.

Prepare your meringue by beating the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until they become foamy. Add the 1/3 cup of sugar a teaspoonful at a time until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved (about 4 minutes).

Add the lime rind and beat slowly until just blended.

Cover the cranberry mixture with the meringue and sealing to the edge of the pie crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until meringue is a light golden brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.


Deborah said...

I've never been a big meringue fan...I prefer to just make double the original filling. But that's because I'm a gluton for pie. This cranberry sounds awesome!

Erika W. said...

Well, my husband has always told me that he doesn't like meringue pies, so that would be why I'd never made one. He inhaled this pie- meringue and all, something changed his mind about it this time.

Chef JP said...

My good friend Steve at Sullicom turned me on to your site==great stuff! This pie receipe is excellent--thanks for sharing!

Erika W. said...

Thanks for stopping by chefjp! Steve's a great guy over there, I love seeing what he's cooking up next.